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July/December 1993 . Tammuz 5753/Tevet 5754 . Vol. XXIII . No. I-2 

From the Editor 

Echoes of History in the Siddur 

Miriam Weissbach and Her 
Melodies for Tehillim 

The Butterfly Comes Home 

A Letter From Lithuania 

The Hazzan - As Seen From A 
Seat In The Congregation 

Report of the Executive 
Vice President 

Jack Chomsky 4 

Hayyim Kieval 6 

Lee Shai Weissbach 21 

Charles Davidson 25 

Jerome Barry 33 

Julius Blackman 36 

Samuel Rosenbaum 43 

Hesped 1 992 Solomon Mendelson 55 

Eulogy for Hazzan Yehudah Mandel David Tilman 60 

Eulogy for Hazzan Yehudah Mandel David Katchen 62 
Book Review 

Project Manginot Robert Scherr 64 

Music Reviews: 

Synagogue Music by Paul Kowarsky 

Shirat Libi by Jerome Kopmar 

Recording Reviews: 

Family Shabbat and Festival Medley 

Various Recordings 

Music Section 

Jerome Kopmar 66 
Abraham Lubin 68 

Stephen Freedman 69 
Shimon Gewirtz 71 

Five Psalms Miriam Weissbach 

Ha-Shamayim M'saprim K'vod El (Psalm 1) 
Torat Adonai (Psalm 19) 
Ad Ana (Psalm 13) 

Hariu LAdonai Kol Ha-aretz (Psalm 98) 
Ashrei Ha-lsh (Psalm 1) 

Shiru Shir Chadash - Hallel Contest Winners 


Pitchu Li 

Adonai Z'charanu 
Hal'lu Et Adonai Hodu 

Amar Rabbi Elazar 

Psalm 93 

Haneirot Halalu 

Emil Berkovits 81 

Shimon Gewirtz 82 

Yossi Zucker 84 

Charles Heller 85 

Daniel Katz 87 

Daniel Katz 90 

July /December 1993 . Tammuz 5753 - Tevet 57.54 

EDITOR: Jack Chomsky 

MANAGING EDITOR: Samuel Rosenbaum 

REVIEW EDITOR: Robert Scherr 

EDITORIAL BOARD: Ira Bigeleisen, Kenneth Cohen. Stephen 

Freedman, Edwin Gerber, Paid Kowarskx. Brian Mayer, Eugene 
Rosner, Robert Scherr. David Silverstein. 

President; Abraham Lubin, Vice President; David Propis, Treasurer; 
Henry Rosenblum, Secretary; Samuel Rosenbaum, Executive Vice 


JOURNAL OF SYNAGOGUE MUSIC is a semi-annual publication. 
The subscription fee is $15 per year. All subscription correspondence 
should be addressed to Journal of Synagogue Music, Can tot-s Assem- 
bly. 3080 Broadway, Suite 613, New York, N Y. 10027. 

Articles and Letters to the Editor should be addressed' to Cantor Jack 
Chomsky, Editor, Journal of Synagogue Music, 1354 East Broad Street, 
Columbus. Ohio 13205. Telephone is (614) 253-8523. Fax is (614) 
i _ \rlici < a a pewri I do '?/< a, < I. Musit 

and musical examples should be photo-ready. Material car also he sent 
on computer disks us follows: IBM-compatible 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" using 
WordPerfect 5.1 software or Macintosh 3 1/2" using Pagemaker 1.2 
software. For further questions, contact the editor. 

Copyright © 1993: Cantors Assembly 


It is with mixed feelings that I introduce this edition of the Journal of 
Synagogue Music to its readers. I have chosen to end my tenure as editor 
with this issue, having found it increasingly difficult to produce the Journal 
in a timely manner. As I look back over the last five years, I am proud of 
the many different kinds of articles which I've been privileged to share with 
our readers. I have endeavored to make the Journal a place where worthy 
scholarship appropriate to the Hazzan's profession would be found along- 
side reminiscences of times gone by and people we can only remember, as 
well as a place where one might find challenging new ideas to help us to 
rethink our role as leaders in our congregations and communities. If I have 
succeeded on any level, it is of course because of those praiseworthy 
individuals who have submitted materials for publication. The world 
needs more such people, and it is my prayer that my successor will find 
such a blessing. I look forward to assisting future Journal editors and 
perhaps assuming an eminently active role again some years down the 

In particular, I would like to thank the leadership of the Cantors 
Assembly, who entrusted me with the special privilege of being Journal 
editor. Thanks to Sam Rosenbaum for great patience and sound advice and 
to Bob Scherr for being Review Editor and helping to ease some of my 
burden. I am also particularly grateful to my dear friend Les Somogyi of 
Minuteman Press in Columbus, Ohio. Les has produced and printed the 
Journal since early in my tenure and has accepted all of the challenges of 
this multi-lingual multi-style publication with patience, humor, love and 

Here's what you'll find in this issue... We begin with a reprint of an 
article by Rabbi Hayyim Kieval (z"l) which originally appeared in the 
Summer 1990 Jewish Spectator. Rabbi Kieval was one of the beloved 
teachers of the Cantors Institute and Cantors Assembly. He had begun a 
project of a series of articles on liturgical subjects for the Journal prior to 
his passing in 1991. 

Lee Shai Weissbach's tribute to his mother reminds us that there are 
others who serve nobly in the pursuit of sharing our Jewish musical 
heritage. As you read his piece, remember all the people who teach and 
have taught music in our religious schools. They are blessed soldiers in the 
battle to preserve our traditions. 

Charles Davidson and Jerome Barry have contributed articles relating 
their remarkable experiences visiting Europe during recent years: Charles 

"returns" to Terezin, whence came the haunting poetry which he immor- 
talized in his beautiful "I Never Saw Another Butterfly." Jerome visits a 
hazzanut- starved Lithuania. Having visited Russia and other former 
Soviet republics myself in 1989, I continue to be fascinated (and often 
frightened) as Jewish and public life are m-defined in those lands. 

Julie Blackman has written an affectionate and provocative look at the 
work of hazzanim from the perspective of a retired colleague who gets to 
watch many of "us" at work, 

Sam Rosenbaum's presentations at the Annual Meetings of the Cantors 
Assembly are always worth preserving and re-visiting. This issue of the 
Journal includes the 1992 Annual Report. The Memorials to departed 
colleagues always touch me and illuminate the impact which each hazzan 
has on his or her own congregation and community. This is particularly 
true of Hazzan Solomon Mendelson's eloquent Hesped from the 1992 
Cantors Assembly Convention. Most recently, the passing of our beloved 
colleague Yehudah Mandel precipitated two moving eulogies included in 
these pages, 

As always, there are various review items as well. The Project 
Manginot series of the UAHC is a particularly significant work. Reviews 
of recent compositions by Paul Kowarsky and Jerome Kopmar are 
included, as are various musical pieces. From the songs of Miriam 
Weissbach to compositions by Charles Heller and Daniel Katz to the 
winners of Bob Scherr's Hallel Song Contest, something of interest to all 
our readers, we hope. 

Enjoy your reading, and many thanks for your constant support over 
the last five years. 

— Jack Chomsky 



DEDICATF.D TO the luminous memory OF my friend and editor, 
TRUDE Weiss-R- smarin 

Abraham Joshua Heschel observed that the Jews in Christian Europe 
never tried to imitate the magnificent cathedrals they saw all around them: 
"No beautiful synagogues were built; instead bridges were built, leading 
from the heart to God." The "bridges" that Heschel referred to were the 
prayers of many generations of pious men and women. The "blue-prints," 
according to which these prayers were constructed, were those unique 
creations of Jewish liturgy - the Siddur, the Machzor, and the Haggadah, 
plus the many collections of Piyyutim and Sdichot and Kinot. Rooted in 
the language and spirit of Sacred Scripture, enriched by the insights of the 
Rabbinic sages, and adorned with the piety of thirty generations, the 
prayerbook has served as the daily guide and companion of faithful Jews 
for more than a thousand years. 

This prayerbook, popularly know as the Siddur (literally, order, i.e., of 
prayers), was an original creation of the Jewish genius - the first attempt 
in the history of religion to fashion a standard pattern of prayer for both 
public and private worship. All other books of prayer in the Western world 
have been influenced by the Siddur. Its impact on Jewish culture and 
consciousness is beyond measure. It is second only to the Tanakh (the 
Hebrew Bible) as the book most familiar to the average Jew. Its words, 
rituals, and ideas have helped to shape the thinking, behavior, and beliefs 
of Jews throughout the world during the 2,000 years of its existence. This 
achievement is all the more remarkable because this heritage was 
transmitted for many centuries only orally. The first written prayerbooks 
did not appear until the ninth and tenth centuries in Babylonia. 

The essential function of the Siddur was to inspire Jews to communi- 
cate with God for every need of the spirit, every day of their lives. It served 
as the instrument for dialogue between the individual worshipper, or the 
praying congregation, and the Master of the Universe, to use a favorite 
phrase of the traditional prayers. Like a diamond with many polished 
faces, the Siddur has a number of facets. It is a classic of Hebrew literature. 

RABBIHAYYIM KIEVAL was Rabbi Emeritusof Temple Israel of Albany, New Yolk, and 
along-time friend and teacher of the Cantors Assembly who died in 1991. This article was 
fi rst published in The ; evtish Spectator, Summer 1990, and is reproduced here with their kind 
permission. For more Information about The Jewish Spectator, write Jewish Spectator. 439 
Park Milano, Calabasas, California. 91302 or call (818) 591-7481. 

It is also an anthology of memorable chapters and verses from the Tanakh 
and passages from the ancient Rabbinic literature, Most significantly, in 
a religion that lacks a systematic theology, the Siddur is a rare authentic 
statement of what Jews actually have believed. 

It also reflects various historical experiences of the Jewish people. The 
Siddur preserves - sometimes directly, more often indirectly - memories 
of national achievements and collective disasters, triumphs and defeats, 
exile and suffering at the hands of the nations, and confrontations with 
other religions, as well as internal controversies with sectarian groups. It 
can be said that the most effective way to lock a historical experience of 
the Jewish people into its collective memory is to preserve that experience 
in the Siddur. 

The most familiar example of institutionalizing such a historical 
memory is the crucial formative event in the history of Israel, which has 
left its imprint on virtually every page of the Siddur. That event is yetzi'at 
Mitzrayim, the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from the bondage of Egypt 
and their passage to freedom as a nation covenanted at Sinai with the God 
of their ancestors. The historical memory phrased in the formula, zekher 
li-yetzi' at Mitzrayim, (in memory of the Exodus from Egypt) is not 
confined to the Pesach prayers. It resonates throughout the Torah and the 
rest of the Tahakh. It runs through the liturgy for all the festivals, not only 
Shavuot and Sukkot, which are closely linked to Pesach, but even Rosh 
Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Nor are the prayers for Shabbat silent on the 
memory of the Exodus, the Kiddush recited on Friday night in homes as 
well as synagogues includes the phrase. zkher li-yetzi' at Mitzrayim. One 
does not have to wait for Shabbat, Every day. as part of the Keri'ut Shema, 
a direct reference to the Exodus is included, morning and evening. 

The emphasis on zekher li-yetzi' at Mitzrayim has permeated the 
consciousness of the Jewish people down to the present day. Every Jew 
who has lived through the 40' s, 50's, and 60's is familiar with concepts like 
"Exodus the DP Camps," "Exodus Yemen," "Exodus Iraq," and "Exodus 
Romania." Even those who have become involved with Jewish communal 
concerns only during the past five years have experienced "Exodus 
Ethiopia," and we are now witnessing "Exodus Soviet Union." It is 
reasonable to expect that, in time, all of these latter-day experiences of 
Exodus will be reflected in Siddurim of the future. 

For the M iraculous Deliverance 

Another example of the clear, direct reference in the Siddur to a 
historical experience is the summary of the events which led to the two 

joyous holidays of Purim and Hanukkah. These experiences were re- 
corded in the traditional liturgy by twin prayers, which follow the same 
pattern: Bi-y'mei Mordekhai v-Esther (In the days of Mordecai and Esther, 
etc.) for Purim; and Bi-jy', (In the days of Mattathias, etc.) for 
Hanukkah. Both of these resumes are introduced by the brief prayer Al ha- 
nissim: We thank you (God), for the heroism, for the triumphs, and for the 
miraculous deliverance of our ancestors, etc. The most recent edition of the 
Conservative version of the Siddur, Sim Shalom, uses at this point a more 
accurate Hebrew text. Instead of the conventional wording (in the Ashkenzic 
minhag), ba-z'man ha-zeh - usually rendered (incorrectly) "at this season" 
- the corrected reading is u-va-z'eman ha-zeh, which yields an entirely 
different idea, namely, "in other days and in our own time." this liturgical 
form, Al ha-nissim, (as we shall see) has recently been adapted to create 
prayers which record the two most important historical experiences of the 
Jewish people in the twentieth century, the Holocaust and the reestablish- 
ment of the Jewish State. 

Following the introductory prayer, Al ha-nissim, the Siddur provided 
a brief synopsis of the historical events associated with Purim and 
Hanukkah. The Purim story was familiar to our ancestors through the 
Megillah (Scroll) of Esther in the Bible. But the passage beginning Bi- 
y'mei Matityahu, "In the days of Mattathias. the Hasmoncan, etc.," was for 
many centuries the only information available to Jews about the complex 
political, military, and religious background to the struggle that resulted in 
the recapture of Jerusalem by the Maccabees. Because the Hebrew Bible 
antedates the Hasmonean period while the Talmud is almost totally silent 
about the Maccabees and has only a few skimpy references to Hanukkah 
generally, the Siddur was their only source of information on the Hanuk- 
kah story! 

Not only victories and deliverances are recorded. Far more character- 
istic of its historical memories are defeats and subjugations. The supreme 
tragedy that befell our people in ancient times was the Churban, the 
destruction of the city of Jerusalem along with its Holy Temple by the 
Romans in 70 C.E. and the end of Jewish independence, which was to last 
until the rebirth of the State Israel in our time. There is, to be sure, a specific 
day in the religious calendar of Judaism to commemorate that catastrophe, 
namely, the fast of Tisha B'Av, but there are reminiscences of the 
cataclysm in the daily prayers as well. 

Recalling the Worship in the Jerusalem Temple 

The seventeenth berakhah of the daily Amidah / Shemoneh Esrei 
recalls the Avodah, the system of worship through ritual sacrifies offered 
up in the Jerusalem Temple. It begins with the word R'tzei, "Accept (the 
prayer of Your people Israel, etc.)." There are, however, two versions of 
that prayer. One, the form recited in the pre-Churban period; the other, 
following the destruction of the Bet ha-Mikdush. While the Temple 
existed, the berakhah concluded with the words sheh-ot'kha I-vad'kha b- 
yir'ah na'avod, (Praised are You Lord, You alone shall we worship in 
reverence). The word translated as "worship" is the Hebrew ru'avod. 
referring to the Avodah, the sacrificial offerings on the altar. This phrase, 
which has been obsolete in daily usage for the past 1900 years, is revived 
only on those occasions, especially rare in the Diaspora, when Kohanim 
go up on the Bimah to recite the Priestly Blessing in the Synagogue. This 
ritual is one of the few surviving remnants of the Avodah of the Temple. 
On all other occasions, the concluding words of the berakhah were 
changed to ha-machazir shekhinato l-tzion (Praised are You, Lord) who 
restores his presence to Zion. What is implicit in the birkat Avodah is made 
explicit in the central prayer of Musaf service on the Mo'adim (Festivals). 
U-mip'nei hata'einu, (Because of our sins were we exiled from our land. 
etc.). This prayer laments the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, 
bemoans the loss of the opportunity to continue offering the ritual 
sacrifices, and, in the text of the classical Siddur, prays for their restoration. 
Siddurim of the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements 
have not retained the traditional petitions for the restoration of animal 

Creator of All Things 

Another fascinating type of historical reminiscence in the Siddur are 
the echoes of theological controversy. There is a possible instance in the 
very first berakhah of the formal section of the Shacharit (morning) 
service, that is, after the Reader or Hazzan chants the call to public 
worship, Barekhu This first benediction before the Shema is called by the 
Talmudic sages Yotzer, (God) the Creator. It reads "Praised are You. Lord 
our God... who forms light and creates darkness, who makes peace and 
creates all things." These words are derived verbatim from the book of 
Isaiah, chap. 4.5, verse 7, except for the last two words in the Hebrew test 
and the translation. Instead of the original et ha-kol (all things). When wc 
bear in mind the awesome reverence these Sages had for every letter of 

Sacred Scripture, it is difficult to understand how they could have taken 
such a radical step. Would any Prayer Book Commission of our rabbinical 
associations today presume to do such a thing? The Talmud explains why 
the change was made: 

What benedictions does one say (in the morning)? R. 
Jacob said in the name of R. Oshaia: "(Praised are You) 
who forms light and creates darkness. "Let him say rather: 
"Who forms light and creates brightness'?' - We keep the 
language of Scripture. If that is so, (what of the next words 
in the text) "who makes peace and creates evil: "do we 
repeat them as they are written (in Scripture)? It is written 
"evil" (ra) but we say "all things" (et ha-kol) as a euphe- 

(Berakhot 1 1 a-b) 
Unfortunately, the Sages did not explain why the word "evil" bothered 
them so much. There must have been a serious challenge - presumably 
from some competing religious philosophy - to induce these Sages to 
amend the revered, sacred text of the Scripture! The best guess of the 
scholars is that this theological challenge came from either the Zoroastrian 
religion of ancient Persia (whose followers still exist today among the 
Parsees of Iran and India) or, later, from the religious philosophy known 
as Gnosticism, which flourished in the Greco-Roman world, both of these 
theological systems were dualisms. They taught that the control of the 
universe is shared by two primal powers constantly at war with one 
another, that all of reality is a struggle between light and darkness, good 
and evil, heaven and earth, soul and body. One of the first Dead Sea Scrolls 
discovered was "The War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness," 
a theme reflected in the architecture of the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, 
built to house the Scrolls. 

The Rabbinic sages called this seductive philosophy Sh'tci Reslmyol. 
The Two Realms/Jurisdictions (see Mishnah Berakhot 5:3). They feared 
Gnosticism because it offered too simplistic an explanation of the peren- 
nial problem: how can evil exist in a world that God created and declared 
to be "good"' ? We need only think of our ongoing contemporary theologi- 
cal dilemma: "How could a just God permit the Holocaust?" Yet Judaism 
never succumbed to the heresy of a dualistic religion, insisting that there 
is only one God who " forms light and creates darkness, who makes peace 
and creates evil." The only reason the word for "evil" (ra) was softened to 
"all things" (ha-kol) was the perceived need for a more felicitous expres- 
sion, suitable to the mood of prayer. 

Lord, Who Revives the Dead 

Another place in the classical Siddur w here one hears the echo of 
sectarian controversy is the second berakhah of the Amidah. The Mishnah 
and Talmud both call this prayer Gevurot, Power, because it begins with 
the words Attah gibbor. You (God) are powerful. The prayer goes on to 
detail various "powers" of God. including that of bringing rain to the earth. 
There are also other powers: "your lovingkindness sustains the living... you 
support the failing, heal the sick, and free the fettered." To these, the 
Pharisees added the power of God to "give life to the dead," the weakest 
of all God's creatures: "You sustain the living with lovingkindness: with 

great mercy you bring the dead to life again Praised are you. Lord, who 

revives the dead." 

This new emphasis did not come without a struggle. The Sadducees, 
who contested with the Pharisaic party for spiritual authority during the 
Second Jewish Commonwealth, rejected the belief of their opponents in 
tGChi' al ha-metim. the resurrection of the dead. We cite the well-known 
comment of the Mishnah on this issue, bearing in mind that the Mishnah 
represents the views of the Pharisees and that they were probably denounc- 
ing the Sadducees: 

These arc they who have no share in the world-to- 
come, whoever says there is no resurrection of the dead 
(prescribed in the Torah)... 

(Sanhedrin 10: 1) 

For Sectarians, No Hope 

The best-known expression in the Siddur of opposition to heretics and 
sectarians is the twelfth berakhah of the Amidah. called in the Talmud 
B/r/faf ha-Minim. the benediction dealing with sectarians. Our current text 
begins with the Hebrew world, (v) la-malshinim, for slanderers (let there 
be no hope); but originally - as the Talmudic name of this berakhah testifies 
- it began with a reference to minim, "sectarians" or Notzrim, "Nazarenes." 
or meshumadim, "apostates." or a combination of these uncomplimentary 
terms. They vary from one version of the Siddur to another. It is not hard 
to understand what agitated the Pharisaic teachers. In our own time, 
sectarian groups like "Jews For Jesus" arc not welcomed into synagogues 
as members of the Jewish faith-community. What our ancestors did, 
according to the Talmud, was to amend an old berakhah in such a way a s 

to prevent Jews who had joined a heretical sect from leading the prayers 
in the Synagogue: 

Said Rabban Gamaliel to the Sages: Can anyone among 
you frame a Berakhah relating to the Minim (sectarians)? 
Samuel the Lesser arose and composed it.. .If a reader (of 
the prayer service) made a mistake in any other Berakhah, 
they do not remove him; but, if in the Birkat Ha-minim, he 
is removed because we suspect him of being a Min 

(Berakhot 28b - 29aj 

Note that there is no mention of the particular sectarian group that is 
being denounced. Nearly all popular books on the Siddur state that this 
berakhah was intended specifically to drive Jewish followers of Jesus from 
the Synagogue, but there is no hard evidence for this conclusion. 

The Ten Commandments 

A striking example of how theological controversy has affected Jewish 
liturgy is one that might be called "The Prayer That Isn't There Any More." 
If it is true that the Siddur is an authentic record of basic Jewish beliefs and 
doctrines, why is there no place in our Prayerbooks for the most fundamen- 
tal expression of beliefs and doctrines in the Jewish religion, namely, the 
Ten Commandments? Many editions of the Siddur do print the Decalogue, 
but they relegate it to an appendix following the morning service along 
with several other passages from the Bible. How can we account for such 
cavalier treatment'? How was it possible for the Jewish people, throughout 
the long evolution of its worship, to have ignored the Ten Command- 
ments? Certainly not because the Rabbinic sages failed to notice their 
grandeur and significance! On the contrary, the Aseret ha-Dibrot/Devarim 
are lauded in the Talmud and Midrash in superlative terms and given equal 
status with the Shema. 

Yet, even when the classical pattern of public worship appears to 
require a passage from the Decalogue, some other verses from the Torah 
are substituted for no discernible reason. A case in point is the Amidah for 
Shabbat morning. The central prayer (Kedushat Ha-Yomj, which deals 
specifically with the observance of the Sabbath, begins with an ancient 
poem, Yismach Moshe: 

Moses rejoiced at the gift of his destiny. he stood 
in Your presence atop Mt. Sinai. Two tables of stone did 
he bring down, inscribed with Shabbat observance. And 
thus it is written in Your Torah: 

In view of the direct reference in the above poem to the Ten Command- 
ments, the logical passage to quote at this point from the Torah would 
surely be one of the two Decalogue versions of the commandment to 
observe the Sabbath - either " Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy, 
etc." (Exodus 20:8) or "Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, etc." 
(Deuteronomy 5: 12). Yet, for some reason that defies understanding, the 
ancient Sages selected instead the passage from Exodus 32: 16 17, V- 
shamm b'nei Yisrael er ha-shabbat (The people Israel shall observe 
Shabbat. to maintain it as an everlasting covenant throughout all genera- 
tions, etc.) The careful observer can only conclude that there must have 
been some doctrinal reason for passing over the obviously appropriate 
citation from the Aseret ha-Dibrot/Devarim. The solution of this mystery 
becomes possible when we recall that the recitation of the Ten Command- 
ments was originally an integral part of the oldest order of Jewish public 
prayer on record - the service that was held every morning in the Chamber 
of Hewn Stones in the Temple of Jerusalem, following the offering of the 
Tamid sacrifice on the altar. The Mishnah, in a passage considered 
contemporary with the event, describes the procedure: 

The officer said to them (the Kohanim), "Recite one 
berakhah." They recited one berakhah (possibly Yotzer or 
Ahavah), and recited the Aseref ha-Devarim (the Ten Com- 
mandments), the Shema, and V-haya im shamo'a (It shall come 
to pass if you hearken), and Va-yomer (The Lord spoke to 
Moses). They pronounced three berakhot with the people: 
Emetv-yatziv (True and certain), and Avodah (the cultic ritual) 
and Birkut Kohanim (the Priestly Benediction). 

(Tamid 5:1) 

There is still further evidence that the Ten Commandments were once 
included in the Jewish liturgy. In 1903, a British scholar published a 
manuscript fragment of an early liturgy for Jews in Egypt from the second 
century C.E., called the Nash Papyrus. Before the discovery of the Dead 
Sea Scrolls, this was the oldest extant Biblical manuscript, this fragment 
contains the beginning of the Keri-at Shema, directly preceded by the 
Aserethu-Dibwt, exactly as the Mishnah tractate Tamid records! Both the 

Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds record persistent attempts to restore 
the recitation of the Decalogue to the daily morning service, just as it was 
practiced in the Jerusalem Temple. 

Both recensions of the Talmud agree that the reason for omitting the 
Ten Commandments was tai'omet ha- minim, the insinuations of the 
sectarians. What these "insinuations" were is explained in the passage 
from the Palestinian Talmud: that "only these (Ten Commandments) were 
given to Moses at Sinai." All of these ancient rabbinic comments tell us the 
same thing. The Jews themselves "censored" the Decalogue out of their 
daily prayers lest they seem to be acknowledging the claims of the early 
Christians, who accepted the validity of the Ten Commandments but 
rejected the other demands of the Torah. 

True, none of these texts mentions the Christians by name as the 
proponents of this heresy. That may be due to persistent censorship of the 
Talmud by Church authorities in the Middle Ages, usually with the help 
of apostates from Judaism. References to Jesus (Yeshu) or his followers or 
Christians generally were removed and replaced by terms such as minim 
or akum (Pagans). But some manuscripts got by the censors: for example. 
MachzorViby, an important book on religious practice in the Franco- 
German communities at the time of the First Crusade. This twelfth century 
work by a pupil of Rashi. Rabbi Simhah of Vitry, identifies the sectarians 
who accepted only the Ten Commandments as followers of Jesus. 

The Talmudic prohibition on reciting the Decalogue as part of the daily 
prayer was observed throughout the Jewish world, but there were excep- 
tions. We find it again in use in the Palestinian synagogues in Fustat (old 
Cairo) throughout the Geonic period down to the time of Maimonides and 
beyond (121 1). 

Our Duty To Praise the Lord of All 

Perhaps the most familiar example of self-censorship in the Siddur is 
the case of one if its most prominent prayers, Alenu l-shabe' ah, which, 
since the thirteenth century, ends each statutory service in the Synagogue. 
This majestic declaration of Israel's allegiance to the supreme sovereignty 
of God was borrowed from its original place in the liturgy, namely the 
Rosh Hashanah Musaf service, where it serves as the prologue to the 
prayer-group known as Malkhuyot Divine Kingship. Alenu has had a 
dramatic career. It dates back, possibly, to the days of the Second Temple 
in Jerusalem. It was subjected to persecution at the hands of medieval 
Church authorities. It served as a martyr's song for the Jews of Blois, 
France, in I 171. It has inspired moving refutations by, among others, 

Menasseh ben Israel (in 16.56) and Moses Mendelsohn (in the eighteenth 
century) of calumnies uttered by Jewish apostates and Christian divines. 
Since the sixteenth century, Ashkenazic Jewry has felt constrained to 
excise from their version of the Siddur a phrase which was attacked by the 
Church as insulting to Jesus. 

The Alenu prayer opens with the words: "We rise to our duty to praise 
the Lord of all. to acclaim the Creator. He made our lot unlike that of other 
people, assigning us a unique destiny" (translation by Rabbi Jules Harlow). 
At this point, there is an abrupt transition in the Hebrew text which is 
obscured in most translations. The Hebrew reads: "But. we bend the knee 
and bow, proclaiming Him as King of Kings, the Holy One praised is He." 
The initial word "but" (Hebrew va) adverts to the preceding thought, which 
is no longer part of the text of our prayer, because the Jews themselves 
expunged it out of fear of Christian anger, however unjustified. For the 
missing passage we need turn only to the text of the Alenu prayer in the 
Sephardic version of the Siddur (which was not subject to Christian 
pressure) or to old manuscripts of the Ashkenzic. The disputed phrase is: 
"for they (the pagan nations of the world) bow down to vanity and 
emptiness and pray to a god that cannot save." Although these words are 
quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah 30:7 and 45:20). which 
antedate the rise of Christianity by centuries, and although the composition 
of Alenu proper is almost certainly pre-Christian, the word "vanity and 
emptiness" (hevel va-rik) were misconstrued by Church authorities - 
relying on malicious interpretations by apostates from the Jewish commu- 
nity - as cryptic, mocking references to Christian worship. Such malevo- 
lent exegesis was achieved by using the Talmudic method of gematria, 
assigning for homiletical purposes numerical values to the letters of the 
Hebrew alphabet. Thus, the fourteenth century apostate, Pesach Peter, 
equated the word varik (and emptiness), the numerical value of whose 
letters is 3 16, with the word Yeshii ( Jesus), which has the same value in 
gematria ! Bernard Gui, who directed the Inquisition in France in the early 
fourteenth century, was aware of this accusation. The calumny was 
repeated by the elder Buxtorf, a Christian Hebraist of the sixteenth century, 
and the Jew-baiter Eisenmenger (seventeenth century). On such flimsy 
foundations were the towers of hatred reared! 

The response of the Jewish authorities to such malevolence was. 
initially, to recite the objectionable words in an undertone, and. eventually, 
to remove them entirely. Machzor Vitry, the twelfth century manual of 
France-German halakhic and liturgical practice, which first mentions the 
use of Alenu in daily prayers, notes that it should be said silently, the 
custom later 'arose to recite the remainder of the text aloud in order to 

satisfy Christian inspectors that the Jews were not clandestinely express- 
ing objectionable ideas. This practice may have been a reaction to a decree 
of the Prussian government of Frederick the Great in 1703, which provided 
for inspectors to visit the synagogues in order to check on how Jews recited 
the Alenu prayer. 

Since the rebirth of the Jewish State, there seems to have been a change 
in the traditional attitude of Jews toward their controversial doxology. 
New editions of even some Ashkenazic prayerbooks (e.g. the popular 
Siddur Rinat Yisrael) have restored the previously censored passage. 

Such in brief is the tortured story of the prayer which R. Eleazar of 
Worms called, in his thirteenth century Roke 'ach, "the Song of Songs of 
the liturgy," and of which Solomon Schechter wrote: 

We can easily lecture on the history of this prayer, 
and even make a guess about its date and authorship, but 
we would certainly fail were we to try to make one 
understand what the Kingdom of God on earth really 
meant for the saints of Israel, whose life was nothing 
else than a preparation for entering into the Kingdom. 
The ideal for which so many noble men and women 
suffered martyrdom... was the blissful vision of love 
triumphant, righteousness triumphant, truth triumphant. 

Closely related to the centuries of conflict with the Christian church on 
matters of doctrine, was the long and brutal history of persecution of the 
Jews in the medieval world. The tragic record of contempt, cruelty, 
extortion, expulsion and outright massacre is reflected on many pages of 
the Siddur, not only the Ashkenzic version but those of the Sephardim, the 
Yemenites, Italian Jews and others. Every Jewish community suffered, in 
greater or lesser degree, the fate of a tolerated minority at the mercy of the 
host state-religion. 

May the Lord Be Merciful To Our Brethren 
The Whole House of Israel 

This is a touching little prayer, recited every Monday and Thursday 
morning, for the rescue and deliverance of Jews in distress and in danger 
of their lives. Following the chanting of the first segment of the Torah 
portion for the week, four brief petitions are recited, each beginning with 
the phrase, Y'hi ration, May it be God's will, petitions for the welfare of 
Jews generally and Torah scholars in particular. A fifth petition begins, 

Acheinu, kol bet Yisrael: 

May the Lord be merciful to our brothers of the 
House of Israel, wandering over land and sea, who 
suffer persecution and torment. May He very soon bring 
them relief from distress and deliver them from the 
darkness of servitude to the light of freedom. 

Even more poignant is the version of this petition in the prayerbook of 
the Italian Jews (Machzor B'nei Roma) because it includes a plea also on 
behalf of the Marranos, secret- Jews from Spain and Portugal, who had 
taken refuge in Italy. That text begins: Acheinu Yisrael va-anusei Yisrael, 
Our brothers of the House of Israel and the Marranos of Israel (the Hebrew 
word for Marranos is Anusim, literally, "those who have been forced" into 
apostasy). The same prayer is recited - in the Italian Rite - on the Shabbat 
when the coming of a New Month (Rosh Chodesh) is announced in their 
synagogues. We also have record of prayers, now obsolete, which were 
recited in Sephardic communities for their fellows imprisoned by the 
Inquisition and memorial prayers for those who were burned at the stake 
(hashkavut has 'nifim al kiddush ha-Shem). 

This study has refrained from citing allusions to historical experiences 
which are found in Piyyut literature, that vast treasury of synagogal poetry 
composed through the centuries to embellish the older, mandatory prayers, 
notably the Shema section and the Amidah. Some of the most vivid 
examples of how historical events affected the prayerbook can easily be 
found among the thousands of Piyyutim, Selichot, Kinot and other forms 
of synagogal poetry. These optional poems differ from one Minhag/Rite 
to another - Ashkenzic, Sephardic, Yemenite, Italian, et al. All the Rites 
contain references to specific persecutions, expulsions, and massacres. 

Merciful Father 

In the Ashkenazic rite, the frequent theme of the Kinot (elegies for 
Tisha b'Av) is the massacre committed by the Crusaders against whole 
Jewish communities as they stormed through the Rhineland on their way 
to the Holy Land, and the incredible heroism of the Jews which all too often 
led to the self-sacrifice of Kiddush Ha-Shem rather than submit to 
apostasy. Many of these liturgical poems give specific locales, dates, and 
vivid details of the atrocities. A moving echo of the experience of 
martyrdom is the dirge recited (as part of the statutory worship service) on 
certain special Sabbaths in Ashkenazic synagogues, beginning Av ha- 

May the compassionate Father, enthroned on high, 
remember with sublime compassion, the good and the 
innocent, the holy communities who laid down their 
lives for the sanctification of His name (al kiddush ha- 

May God Remember the Souls of the Martyrs 

The horrors of the crusades led to the creation of the Yizkor memorial 
prayers for the dead, which became a prominent feature of the Ashkenazic 
Rite on Yom Kippur and, later, in the Polish branch of Ashkenazic Jewry, 
also on the Shalosh Regalim (Pesah, Shavuot and Sukkot). This service did 
not originate until the First Crusade, at the close of the eleventh century, 
when so many influential France-German communities were devastated. 
Yizkor (more accurately Hazkaral Neshamot) began as a memorial, not for 
individuals but for whole communities, the names of the martyrs being 
read in the synagogues from memorial scrolls. We are now witnessing a 
similar process, as rituals are evolving to commemorate the Holocaust. 

Liturgical Commemorations of the Holocaust 
And Israel's Independence Day 

A parallel liturgical format is evolving for Yom ha-Atzma'ut, Israel's 
Independence Day. Here the Conservative movement has pioneered some 
creative original prayers, patterned after the classical liturgy of the Siddur. 
Almost 30 years ago, the commission which produced the Weekday 
Prayer Book of the Rabbinical Assembly devised a striking prayer to 
commemorate both the Holocaust and the rebirth of the Jewish State. They 
were not aiming for another responsive reading to be recited in English as 
a supplement to the traditional service, but an original Hebrew prayer 
composed in a traditional style that would fit organically into the Amidah 
itself! They started with the classical formula, Al ha-nissim, the prelude to 
the resumes of the Purim and Hanukkah stories discussed above. The 
Commission then invited the distinguished Hebrew scholar-poet, the late 
Professor Hillel Bavli of the Jewish Theological Seminary, to compose a 
resume of the holocaust and the birth of Medinat Yisrael in the style of Bi- 
y'mei Matityahu/Bi-y' met Mordekhai v-Esther. Professor Bavli's creative 
version of Al hanissim for Yom ha-Atzma'ut has been highly acclaimed 
and is now a fixture in prayerbooks of the Conservative movement. 

The Conservative movement has similarly updated the traditional 
prayer for Tisha b'Av which is inserted into the Amidah as the conclusion 

of the normal berakhah designated in the Talmudic 

Yerushalayim. The classical text begins: 

Nahem, Adomii Elohehut, et avelei Tziyon v-et 
avelei Yerushalayim, v-et ha-ir ha-uvelah v-he- 
charevuh v-ha-b' zuyah v-ha-shomemah, etc. 

Comfort, Lord our God, the mourners of Zion, 
and the mourners of Jerusalem, and the city that is in 
mourning, laid waste, despised and desolate, etc. 

Ever since the rebirth of the Jewish State, and especially since the 
reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, even some Orthodox scholars of 
Jewish liturgy have called for changes in this text which would reflect the 
true contemporary situation of the ancient city which has become the 
flourishing capital of the State of Israel. A few have gone so far as to 
compose updated versions of Nahem, but only in the Conservative 
synagogue has an updated prayer for Tisha b'Av become standard practice. 
The 1984 printing of the Weekday Prayer Book of the Rabbinical Assem- 
bly (originally issued in 1961) included the revised version, as does the 
new Siddur Snz Shalom, published by the Rabbinical Assembly and the 
United Synagogue of America in 198.5. The revised text reads: 

Nahem, Adonai Elohe'mu, et avelei Tziyon v-et 
avelei Yerushalayim v-et ha-ir sheh-chareva hav' ta 
("the city which once was so desolate in mourning")... 
Rachem, Adonai Yerushalayim ir'kha ha- 
nivneit me-charban i v-h ishevet mi- shorn' mutah 
(Have mercy, Lord our God, for Your city, Jerusa- 
lem, rebuilt from destruction and restored from desola- 
tion), etc. 

The new version of Nachem continues (in English 

Lord who causes Zion to rejoice at her children's 
return, may all who love Jerusalem exult in her, may all 
who mourn Jerusalem of old rejoice with her now. etc. 

I Remember, God, Jerusalem 

One exception will be made in order to include a striking example of 
the updating of a medieval piyyut. (This is also the only instance taken from 
the liturgy of the High Holy Days.) During the Ne'ilah service of the Day 

of Atonement, one of the most beloved poems in the Selihot section is 
Ezkeruh Elohim, composed by Rabbi Amittai ben Shefatiah in tenth 
century Italy. The poet laments the utter desolation of Jerusalem in his day, 
which he contrasts to the flourishing cities of other nations: 

We witness the world about us, we see great cities 
flourish; and we recall great cities of our past in their 
devastation. 'Zion was a wilderness, Jerusalem a desola- 
tion. Our sacred House of God so glorious, in which our 
fathers sang God's praises in ancient days, was burned to 
the ground, etc. 

The Rabbinical Assembly Machzor hi- Yamiiii ha-Nora 'im (Prayerbook 
for the Days of Awe), published in 1972, prints the original selichah poem 
(the first stanza only); but follows it immediately with an updated version. 
Instead of the original opening words, Ezkerah Elohim v-ehemayah (I 
remember, God, and I am deeply vexed), the parallel version begins, 
Ezkerah Elohim v'esm'chah (I remember. God, and I rejoice). The 
revised poem is translated by Rabbi Jules Harlow: 

We mourn its destruction, and the ruins of Jerusalem of 
old. And in gratitude and joy we celebrate Jerusalem of 
gold. Behold, says the Lord, I create new heavens and a 
new earth. Jerusalem I create to be a joy, her people a 

We have examined a number of cases of prayers in the classical Siddur 
that echo both positive and negative experiences of the Jewish people. Just 
as the classical Siddur has reflected these historical experiences in the past, 
so the evolving Siddur of our time has begun to reflect the seminal events 
of the current era. We may confidently expect that this process of liturgical 
updating will continue, and it should be encouraged. In this way, the crisis 
and deliverances that the people Israel passes through will remain fresh in 
the consciousness of Jews. That will happen only if these experiences, and 
the way Jews respond to them, will become part of the liturgy of the 
Synagogue. For the Synagogue (as our greatest modern Hebrew poet, 
Bialik, called it) has always served as Bet ha-yotzer I-nishmat ha-umuh, 
the potter's shop where the soul of the people is formed. 



In the decades immediately after World War II, American Jewry 
was blessed with a considerable number of gifted educators whose 
formative experiences were unique to their time and whose very souls were 
tied up with the cause of Jewish learning. These men and women, many 
of whom received at least a part of their training in Europe or in Palestine, 
had a deep attachment to Hebrew culture, and they saw its dissemination 
as a true vocation. Their devotion to Jewish education was no doubt 
reenforced by the fact t hat they had witnessed some of the most momentous 
events in Jewish history: the mass migration of East European Jews to 
America, the flowering of Zionism, the trauma of the Holocaust, the 
creation of the State of Israel. 

Most of the uniquely qualified and highly talented teachers who 
emerged in the post-war era are now either retired or deceased, but they 
should be remembered for their tireless efforts in the day schools and 
suburban afternoon schools that proliferated throughout the United States 
during the 1950s. 60s. and 70s. These teachers were responsible for 
spreading a knowledge of modern Hebrew, a familiarity with fundamental 
tests, and a love of Jewish culture among thousands and thousands of baby 
boom children all over America. Miriam Weissbach was one of these 
unique educators. 

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, in December, 1909, Miriam was the 
first child of Menachem Mendel Frieden and his wife, Esther. In 19 1 I, 
Miriam's parents took her to St. Paul, Minnesota, where her father hoped 
to establish himself in business. However, when Esther died soon after the 
birth of her second child. Miriam's father took his children back to 
Norfolk, where he soon remarried. Menachem Mendel would have three 
more children with his second wife. Rae. Miriam's father did quite well 
as an entrepreneur in Norfolk, first in the candy business and then in 
retailing, but as a traditional Jew who had grown up in Lithuania and an 
activist who had been won over to the cause of Zionism, he was not 
comfortable in the secular environment of the United States. In 192 1 he 
sold everything he had and took his family to Palestine. 

LEE SHAI WEISSBACH is Professor of History and Chairman of the Department 
of History at the University of Louisville. The author wishes to thank Hazzan 
Marshall Portnoy and David Silberman for their assistance in preparing for 
publication the scores that accompany this article. 

For Miriam, who was eleven years old when her family made 
aliya, the transition from an upper middle class existence in Virginia to 
the primitive conditions of post- World War I Jerusalem was not an easy 
one. In Virginia, her parents had owned not only a comfortable house in 
Norfolk, but also a summer home at Virginia Beach; in Palestine, the 
family's first residence did not even have indoor plumbing. Nonetheless, 
Miriam adjusted and in 1928, after her family had moved to Tel Aviv, she 
graduated from the Gymnasia Herzliya. 

Miriam spent the next four years in the United States. A Hebrew 
teaching position took her to New London, Connecticut, and there she also 
studied at Connecticut College. Soon after she returned to Eretz Yisrael, 
she met her future husband, Maurice Weissbach, a young man who had 
grown up in the Jewish community of Alexandria, Egypt, and who had 
already spent time in Cuba and the United States before returning to the 
Middle East. Miriam and Maurice married in 1935 and settled in Haifa, 
where Maurice established a customs clearing service and travel agency. 
Their first son, Yehuda, was born in 1936. In 1947. after Maurice returned 
from World War II serviceinthe British army, a secondson, Lee Shai, was 

In the early years of Israel's statehood, few people had money for 
imported goods or for foreign travel and Maurice's business suffered as 
a result. For this reason, among others, Miriam and Maurice came to the 
United States in 1952. After a year in New York, the family moved to 
Cincinnati, where Maurice continued in the travel business and where 
Miriam became the first-grade teacher at the newly founded Yavneh Day 
School. It was then that her career as a Jewisheducator began to flourish. 
Miriam's older son returned to Israel on his own in 1955 and her husband 
died in 1964. Her second son married and left home in 1968. 

During her more than twenty years in Cincinnati, Miriam 
established herself not only as a highly-regarded teacher, but also as an 
able administrator. She was one of the mainstays of Yavneh, which has 
just celebrated its fortieth anniversary as a community day school, and she 
also gave many years of service to the religious school of the Conservative 
Adath Israel Congregation and to the Cincinnati Community Hebrew 
Schools network. Miriam retired from her duties in Cincinnati in 1974 
and soon after returned to Israel. She lived first in Haifa for nearly a 
decade, and then at the moshav shitufi of Yodfat, where her older son had 
settled and raised a family. 

Miriam was in the United States on one of her frequent visits 
when the Gulf War broke out in January of 199 1, and she remained in 
America with her younger son's family until after the war. She returned 
to Israel just in time for Pesach, and her end came only a few weeks later. 

After a leisurely stroll around Yodfat on the Shabbat afternoon of April 13, she 
passed away quietly on her living room sofa. Born in the first decade of the 
twentieth century, she had lived to see the early part of its last. 

Music had always played a central role in Miriam Weissbach's life. 
She grew up in a home where music was considered important. "My father 
had a beautiful voice," Miriam recalled shortly before her death, and she 
remembered that he was quite familiar with cantorial music. Before going to 
St. Paul in 19 11, Menachem Mendel had been offered a post as hazzan in one 
of the synagogues of Norfolk, but, according to Miriam, "since he considered 
his music to be a hobby, he refused the position." 

Miriam began piano lessons while still a child in Virginia, and she 
professed that in her last year of school there, her teachers discovered that she 
had a wonderful singing voice. When the Frieden family moved to Palestine 
in 192 1, one of its first acquisitions was a piano, so that Miriam could continue 
her training. She kept up her music studies and her singing both in Jerusalem 
and in Tel Aviv: when the Hebrew University was dedicated in 1925, Miriam 
was a part of the Gymnasia Herzliya choir that performed at the ceremony. 

During her short period of study in the United States in the late 1920s 
and early 30s. Miriam supported herself with her music, as well as with her 
Hebrew teaching skills. When she came back to America in 1952, her musical 
abilities stood her in good stead once more. She very often employed music 
in conjunction with her various teaching responsibilities, first in New York, 
and then during her long career in Cincinnati. Miriam taught Hebrew classics 
and contemporary folksongs, she introduced her students to liturgical melodies, 
both traditional and modern and she organized dozens of musical performances. 
She even published two of the "cantatas" she prepared for various school 
programs and holiday celebrations; in the latter years of her life, Miriam 
collected five or ten dollars in royalties each year. An entire generation of 
Cincinnatians still remembers "Mrs. Weissbach" as the person who taught 
them the Hebrew songs and Jewish melodies that still remain with them. 

After she retired from the classroom and returned to Israel, Miriam 
took up teaching piano in earnest. When she was in her late sixties and early 
seventies, she often complained that her piano teaching left her little time for 
anything else, but she always refused to cut back on the number of students she 
would accept. In her late seventies, after she had moved to Yodfat. Miriam 
began to concentrate on working with adult piano students, and their recitals 
on the moshav became major events in her life. 

Throughout the many years Miriam was involved in music education, 
she had always shied away from composition, a field in which she had received 
no formal training. Nonetheless, in 1990, when she was already a grandmother 
of seven in the eightieth year of her life, she finally turned her attention to 
writing music. Confident that she still had many years before her, Miriam set 

the goal of creating musical settings for selections from each and every one of 
the Psalms in the Book of Tehillim. By the time she died, she had composed 
only the five pieces whose scores accompany this brief biography. She was 
apparently already thinking about a sixth melody, however. When Miriam 
closed her eyes for the last time on that Shabbat afternoon in the spring of 1991, 
there was a Tanach on the table beside her. It was open to Psalm 116: "shuvi 
iHijshi 1 imnuchaichi, ki Adonai gamal alaichi; " "Be at rest, once again, my 
soul, for the Lord has been good to you." 

Five compositions by Miriam Weissbacli are included a 
Section ofrhis issue of the Journal beginning on page 73. 


By Charles DaviDsc 

On a drizzly, cold Thursday morning, October 17,199 1,1 found myself 
in a darkened grove of chestnut trees, their black-branched fingers 
stretched against a gray sky which peeked through some few wet and 
drooping leaves I bent and picked up a knarled, brown walnut and rubbed 
its shine with my thumb thinking again how the past 24 years of my life 
have been shaped by a chance musical encounter. 

I was in Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, the dreaded walled city itself, 
but would not have been there had it not been for my friends Jerome 
Kopinar (who initiated a special musical commission to memorialize the 
Holocaust) and Solomon Mendelson (who urged it to completion over the 
summer and fall of 1968). 

Barely a month before this particular Thursday morning, just after Rosh 
Hashanah, Bob Frye, a television producer with Bolthead Productions of 
New York had called to invite me to go to Czechoslovakia as a guest of 
Vaclav Havel, The Terczin Initiative (an organization of survivors of 
European concentration camps), the Jewish Committees in the Czech 
Republic, the State Jewish Museum in Prague and the International 
Terezin Committee. I was to travel to the prison-city itself with a camera 
crew, the international tour choir of The American Boychoir of Princeton, 
its teachers and Music Director James Litton, and Mr. Frye and his staff, 
all of us to help dedicate the new Jewish Museum in Theresienstadt: This 
was the 50th year of its opening as a way-station for Jews on their way to 
dismal death at Auschwitz, and its use as a decoy and ruse for the 
International Red Cross visit there during World War II. 

The American Boy Choir of Princeton, New Jersey would perform my 
song cycle "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" (which I had written to 
poetry of the children of Terezin), with symphony orchestra in Prague and 
in Brno and would also sing at the official opening of the Jewish Museum 
in Terezin. I accepted the invitation but with trepidation: It was an honor 
which both delighted and for some reason, also frightened me. 

Ever since the music had been written, the work has seemed tolivea life 
of its own, being performed widely, by all sorts of disparate groups and 
without promotional publicity. It had been nurtured by people I had not 
previously known, many of them from the Princeton Boy Choir School 

HAZZAN CHARLES DAVIDSON of Adath Jeshurun Congregation of Elkins Park. 
Pennsylvania, is a well-known composer and frequent contributor to the Journal off 
Synagogue Music. 

itself: former choirmasters Donald Hansen and John Kuzma, the 
exceptional humanitarian and dear friend Steven Howard and now by the 
current administrator John Ellis, by a staff of dedicated workers in the 
School, all of whom I had met and afterwards loved for their humanity and 
for their hope for a better world. 

I had lived with the music and the poetry for many years and have always 
believed that it expressed my deepest feelings of sorrow at the destruction 
wrought upon the Jewish people and other peoples by the inhumanity of 
the Nazis and abetted by the apparent disinterest of the world. I had heard 
many recordings, been present at scores of performances that always left 
me in tears, had been told of thousands of performances by many choirs 
around the world, had received hundreds of programs from boychoirs, 
public high school choruses and church choirs, had heard of its several 
presentations before the Pope at the Vatican, the performances at the 
Rotunda in Washington, but I never had thought that I would, at some 
point, be forced to confront the reality of the poems and their authors in 
the place they last lived before they were murdered by the Nazis. 

I didn't know what to expect fromsuch a trip. I was now at the age that 
the authors of the poems would have been had they lived: One of the 
youthful poets even shared a birthdate with me. The poetry had become 
so much a part of my own persona and was so integrated with my music 
that, now, in retrospect after my trip, I believe that I expected to confront 
my own self in the barracks of Terezin. 

I was unable to be at Smetana Hall in Prague on Sunday evening to hear 
the Princeton Boy Choir and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with 
James Litton perform "Butterfly" for the first time in Czechoslovakia. I 
left Kennedy Airport aboard a Czech Airlines flight and arrived in Prague 
in the early morning of Tuesday, October 15 in time to be met and driven 
to the Park Hotel in the heart of the city. There a special bronze plaque was 
being dedicated. Irony of ironies! The Park Hotel was the present site of 
the former "grouping area," where all the Jews of Prague had been forced 
to gather before their transport to Terezin. 

With some photographers and relatives, I climbed a low retaining wall 
and looked down two levels of stairs at three hundred and fifty former 
inmates of the camp, standing in bright sunshine, gathered from all over 
the world for these three days in Czechoslovakia, now crammed together 
on the postage stamp-sized lawn waiting for the official government 
speeches, the inevitable band-playing and the unveiling of the bronze 
plaque; gathered on the same piece of ground where they had waited, 
shivering with fright, fifty years before; at that time waiting to be sent to 
God-only-knew where and to what end. 

The hotel itsetf is built on the corner of a busy thoroughfare. Cars, buses 
and trucks added to the noises of greeting, the calling one to another as 
former friends were recognized beneath the whitened hair and thickened 
bodies, so very different from the thin, wasted frames of former years. The 
sobs and cries forced out by relived memories mingled with horn htasts 
and the gunning of engines: Unconcerned and disinterested pedestrians 
walkedpast theparksitenotpausingtopeerthrough the scragglyfirtrees. 
But I watched, very moved, as the men and women below wandered 
through the crowd, peering into faces, searching for the children they had 
once been. 

The ceremonies completed, flowers, yahrzeit candles and Israeli flags 
vied for places with one another beneath the dark, bronze plaque, itself 
created by a survivor, showing elongated and pathetic figures struggling 
toward some unseen but all too obvious oblivion. I was, at the same 
moment, involved and yet dispassionate, a participant and yet set apart as 
an observer, a feeling that was to be repeated again and again. 

Told that I had two hours before another filming session for the 
documentary film that would tell of our trip, I spent the time walking in 
the old Jewish Quarter, looking at the sidewalk displays on the Charles 
Bridge and seeing the famous (infamous?) statue of Jesus in its niche with 
other statuary groups on the bridge and reading its inscription Kadosh, 
Kadosh, Kadosh, Adonai Tz'vaot appended in bronze around the head. I 
learned that the inscription had been paid for by a medieval Jew as a fine 
for his "blasphemy" against Jesus. Why, I wondered, is this such a "must 
see" item for Jewish tourists? If anything, it reminded me of the tenuous 
position Jews held in medieval Europe where Jewish life itself depended 
upon the whim of the local rulers, the state of the economy and the good 
will of the townspeople. 

I left the Charles Bridge and went on to the ancient Jewish graveyard 
attached to the Pinsker Shul which had been built in 1535. Centuries 
before, in the year 916, the city of Prague had given permission for the 
Jewish community to bury their dead on this small plot of land but only 
here, nowhere else. As spaces had been filled, the community added three 
feet of earth above each coffin and continued layering the graves until a 
very high mound was created. The built-up mound and the glacier-like 
jut of tomb- stones pointing in all directions make this holy place unique 
in the world. Many visitors wandered through the bewildering tumble of 
markers. Most of them seemed to be from Scandavian countries, with 
some Israelis and some Germans. I was the only person with akippah and 
I went from stone to stone saying Kaddish. Many visitors, both Jewish 
and Gentile, leave small notes on top of the stones, much, I would believe, 
in the manner of kvittles left in crevices of the Wall in Jerusalem. 

I found the grave of Rabbi Loew, stood for a while and mourned the 
absence of a 20th century Golem who could have defended the Maharal's 
Jews in their time of greatest need. I left the cemetery and wandered into 
the small museum where, suddenly shaken and apprehensive, I saw some 
of the original poems from Terezin, neatly pressed beneath covers of 
glass, mute witness to their authors' existence. 

I met the boys outside the famous Almeuschul, the "old-new shul." 
They were dressed neatly in their traveling outfits of maroon jackets and 
dark trousers, standing patiently in rows while quietly waiting for 
directions. They were superbly disciplined and throughout the trip 
showed uncommon maturity for young boys. It was soon obvious to me 
that this self-discipline was absolutely necessary. This touring choir of 
boys often finds itself in the most unusual situations and the youngsters 
needed the discipline to overcome adversity; much in the manner of the 
Terezin children who banded together in the barracks and presented a 
common front to the Nazis. 

About the American Boy Choir School itself, it is the only boarding 
music school for boys in the United States, much like the Vienna Boy 
Choir, and the angelic quality of their choir singing is haunting in its 

The interior of the Almeuschul is a contrast of stark hues; brilliantly 
white walls and dark oaken furniture. High wooden arches soar 
overhead, meeting in the center of the small domed chapel, thrust against 
thewhite, rough, hewn walls. The central Bimah and Shulhan are adorned 
with a silver crown fit for some medieval princess and the worn lectern 
of the Hazzan, set just to the right of the diminutive Aron Kodesh seemed 
wonderfully beautiful to me, touched and loved by age, hallowed by many 
hands. The shul was built in 1270 and remains the oldest extant 
synagogue in Europe. While the boys rehearsed and were filmed and 
recorded, I stepped down into the depression carved out in the floor at the 
base of the Hazzan's lectern Min ha-Meitzar ["Out of the depths have 1 
called to Thee"] and quietly davened Minha and Ma'ariv. I felt as if I had 
been here and done this many times before. For some reason I felt 

I spent the morning ofWednesday, October 16, walking through the old 
Jewish sector of Prague again, crossing the Moldau River and walking 
through the medieval streets. Jews had been in Prague since Roman times 
in 970 and lived comfortably until they were massacred by the Crusaders 
in 1096. Many were forcibly baptized, but the community eventually 
recovered. I returned to the bus several hours later to begin the journey 

to Terezin. 

I sat in the very last seat as we pulled away from the curb into the traffic 
of Prague and had a glimpse of the bronze memorial plaque as the loaded 
bus sped past the Park Hotel: I realized with a shudder that wc were 
actually retracing the same route of those deported from that place fifty 
years ago. I looked out the windows as we passed block after block of 
gray buildings. Bob Frye and his assistants Marcy Lefkovitz from New 
York and Daniel Bergmann from Czechoslovakia were in quiet 
conversation in the front of the bus as I confirmed with a Czech 
cameraman near me that there was no other route; there was only one 
highway to Theresienstadt; this was, indeed, the very same road taken by 
thousands on their way to the death camps. 

The rush of air through open windows ruffled the hair of the 25 young 
boys sitting in front of me, some sleeping, some looking at the beautiful 
farm lands that surrounded us, their teachers reading or catching up on 
their sleep. There was a general air of fatigue. They had arrived in Europe 
two weeks earlier to prepare for their concerts and it was obvious that all 
were tired. Almost as tired, I imagined, as those poor children and adults 
who had waited for days at the "gathering center" on the site of the Park 
Hotel, waiting to be sent on transport. 

We were surrounded with luggage, books, extra clothing and 
equipment: How horribly like those earlier bus rides, with children and 
teachers so similar to these souls, on this same road, with the same fields 
of potatoes and newly turned soil flying by and with the same feelings of 
uncertainty about their destination. I felt part of what was happening and 
yet apart from it. I promised myself not to forget what it must have been 
like to know that the end of the line was Terezin, "the black town now," 
as one of the children's poems so described it. 

Thirty-three kilometers north of Prague we slowed and turned to the 
right, past the Terezin cemetery and crematorium, now smelling the sharp 
odor of manure in the surrounding fields, our eyes suddenly assailed by 
the massive yellowish brick walls, with broad, buttressed ramparts, that 
suddenly loomed up to confront us. We drove through a massive dark 
portal, hearing our exhaust echo hollowly, and we emerged in the town. 

Was this Terezin? Truly? I saw stores, wide open streets, a few people 
walking, children playing, schools in session. Where was the somber 
reality of the place? Where were the black crepe banners and the smells 
of death once removed? I was totally unprepared to see a small city with 
real people in it, inhabited as indeed it was in 1941 before the Nazis 
ordered the small population out to make way for the Jews who would 

soon cram the streets, the houses, the barracks by the thousands. I knew 
Terezin only from the children's poetry; the small streets of their prose, 
the little houses and bunks of their fears: I understood the reality of the 
place from the fantasy-quasi-real pictures of a child's imagination. 

We drove for several minutes in silence. No one spoke as we continued 
toward the center of the town, past the populated areas, toward the town 
hall whose unforgettable steeple is found in so many drawings made by the 
adult and child artists who died here and at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Opposite 
the park, where, as one of the children's poems explained, "a queer old 
grand-dad sat," we stopped at the former BOQ of the Russian army 
officers until recently stationed in what was now non-Communist 
Czechoslovakia. The bus door opened and we got off, each child carrying 
his belongings. 

I was in the grip of deja VU, seeing in these youngsters other children 
who had stepped down from their buses, valises in hand, looking around 
for directions: Where do we go? What is this place? Where are my 
parents? I began to feel the weight of the place again as if the sight of these 
young boys evoked the ghosts of years past. It was true and this was real: 
This was Theresienstadt and I was back at the source of the "Butterfly." 

We ate that evening in a public school and were given a lecture by a 
Czech boy scout on the history of Terezin, its establishment as a garrison 
town in the time of the anti- Jewish ruler Maria Theresa (1740-1780) who 
expelled the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia in 1744. The Jews of 
Prague returned four years later after they promised to pay high taxes. 
He explained how the Nazis used Terezin as a "model city" to fool the 
international community and the representatives of the Red Cross into 
disbelieving the stories and rumors of Jewish genocide. But our boys 
knew a great deal about that already, having been taught by their teachers 
at The American Boychoir School, Nancy Adair and Alison Hankinson, 
for the past half year about the Holocaust and specifically about 
Theresienstadt. Indeed, if this trip had the effect on these young singers 
that the music and poetry had already worked upon thousands of other 
young singers of the work, they would have apersonal understanding and 
connection with the Holocaust that wouldremain with them for the rest 
of their lives. 

I spent an uneasy night waiting for the grey dawn. 

After a quick breakfast in the nearby school, we all walked through the 
wet streets to an imposing building which had served as a barracks for the 
Terezin children. Our boys and Jim Litton would rehearse in its 
auditorium. It was in this building that the new museum was to be 

established and it would open officially in a few hours. The auditorium 
was, in fact, used for performances by the very children who had lived in 
this barracks. Following the war, the auditorium had been converted into 
a plush theatre for the now-ousted communist officials who had seen 
movies and shows there: It was sumptuous with wide, plush chairs rising 
sharply in velvet rows toward the rear of the room. 

It was a small and perfect hall, now bright with klieg lights and bustling 
with camera people from our outfits well as from Czech Television. The 
doors were open to the damp, drizzle and cold because of the heat of the 
lights and the boys were again rehearsing under the direction of James 
Litton and his assistant Craig Dennison. Rain had been falling steadily 
and I went up to the first floor to hear the speeches delivered from the 
inside of the front foyer of the museum. A cardinal, a rabbi and 
government officials, standing on the marble steps inside, were speaking 
in Czech to the three hundred and fifty survivors now standing in the park, 
umbrellas raised and dripping, coat collars turned up against the cold. I 
listened for a while, took photos and then went below to get warm. 

I sat in a great comfortable chair, adjusted my camera, ready to 
photograph the survivors as they came in, listening to the boys sing, being 
stopped, starting again, rehearsing meticulously as they always did. 
Suddenly, without warning, as the boys sang the exact words "... only 
I never saw another butterfly, " a large, brilliantly blue butterfly, flew into 
the room through an outside door, out of 49-degree rainy weather, circled 
over the boys' heads as they sang. Still singing, they twisted their heads 
to keep the butterfly in view as it circled the stage again and flew around 
the outer periphery of the hall. I tried to find it with my camera as did the 
TV people but in spite of our efforts it eluded us and finally flew out an 
open door. The boys stopped singing and we all looked at one another. 
What was a butterfly doing outside in rainy, cold weather to begin with 
when it had absolutely no business being there? It was, after all, a cold 
and wet October in Czechoslovakia. Bob Frye hugged mc and said that 
it was just as well that it had not been captured on film because its 
appearance would just not have been believed. Its significance became 
more important the longer we thought about its strange appearance. It 
was as if something or someone had visited us to bestow a blessing. We 
accepted it as such. 

The small hall was filled as the boys sang and acted the work, 
performing the music as only they have been able to since the work was 
commissioned for them in 1968 when they were known as the Columbus 
Boy Choir. The audience had text sheets in Czech and in English and I 
believe that we all were moved in an extraordinary way. It was an 
experience that I shall never forget and for which I will forever be 


I had to leave right after the performance in order to catch a flight to 
Switzerland and from there to New York. Miraculously, the sun had come 
out during the performance and the rain had stopped. It was a beautiful 
clear day with blue skies and some few white clouds, the first such day in 
a week. While the driver assigned to me waited in his car, I walked to the 
grove of chestnut trees that had first greeted me the day before. I bent down 
and picked up a dark brown chestnut whose doe's eye had caught my 
glance, the dappled sunlight reflecting back from its shiny face. I closed 
my hand around it, enjoying the hard, tangible feel and put it in my pocket 
to bring home. 

I looked around for the last time; viewing the broad, green plaza, the old 
church, the Town Hall and the new Jewish Museum, the parked buses that 
had brought the survivors from ftague, and I watched those former 
inmates of this place, now strolling casually, arm in arm, some in 
conversation, others quiet in their reflections as I recited aloud the poem 
"On A Sunny Evening," written in 1944 by children in barracks L3 18 and 
L417, Ages 10-16: 

On a purple sunshot evening under wideflow'ring chestnut trees 

upon the threshold full of dust 

yesterday the days are all like these 

trees flower forth in beauty, 

lovely too their very wood all gnarled and old, 

that I am half afraid to peer into their crowns of green and gold. 

The sun has made a veil of gold so lovely that my body aches, 

above the heavens shriek with blue 

convinced I've smiled by some mistake. 

The world's a-bloom and wants to smile, 

I want to fly but where, how high? I want to fly. 

If in barbed wire things can bloom, why coukln 't I? 

I will not die, I will not die. 


By JerOme Barry 

At a meeting with Professor Josef Dorfman of Tel Aviv University in 
Israel in 1990, I was invited to participate in the First International Festival 
of Jewish Art Music, to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania in the Spring of 1991. 
It had to be postponed shortly before its beginning for a number of reasons, 
some of them quite obvious. The Festival did take place from April 27 to 
May 6, 1992, and I was privileged to participate. The Festival, sponsored 
by Tel Aviv University and the Lithuanian Philharmonic, consisted of 
chamber, solo and orchestral concerts, as well as symposia and special 

Traveling through the Baltic countries was an unforgettable experi- 
ence. This was a country, Lithuania, which had suffered under foreign 
domination for many centuries, from 1940 by the Soviets, then the 
Germans during World War II and until 1990. by the Soviet Union. The 
city of Vilnius (Vilna), formerly a part of Poland, had a very large Jewish 
population (app. 400.000), 90% of which was decimated by Nazis and 
local collaborators during the war. The city, which had boasted of many 
of the greatest Jewish scholars, the richest Jewish cultural heritage, called 
the "Lithuanian Jerusalem," is now Jewishly a shadow of its former self, 
for only 2.500 Jews remain. Most of the survivors emigrated after the war 
to Israel and the United States. It had counted 10 synagogues and a school 
of rabbis, but the National Socialists destroyed all but one synagogue, built 
in 1894. It is said the synagogue was spared because of its beauty. I was 
apprehensive how receptive the remnant of Lithuanian Jewry would be to 
Jewish musical culture, for so much of it had been suppressed in the 
postwar years. I could only imagine what a great civilization had existed 
here. I was moved deeply by what I later saw among the survivors of an 
annihilated society. 

All the Festival participants were invited to Paneriai. the killing 
grounds of many thousands of our people in the early 1940's, for a special 
memorial service. There, the only Jewish member of the Lithuanian 
Parliament, Emanuel Zingeris. also the head of the Jewish Museum, gave 
a moving eulogy in Yiddish for the murdered men, women and children, 
who had been systematically shot and buried here. At the memorial 
service, I was approached by the ritual director of the Synagogue to 
officiate as their cantor that Sabbath evening. I accepted the ii 

JEROME BARRY is a baritone, part-time cantor and arts advocate 

aware of its significance. 

The Philharmonic arranged for me and my fellow artists to be taken by 
bus that evening to the shul. I found the congregation members, mostly 
older men, with a sprinkling of adolescent boys, to be very reserved; they 
reminded me of the people in my childhood synagogue, most of whom 
must have come from this area. By the next day. when I again conducted 
services, I found the people much more receptive and spoke to them heart- 
to-heart about the great honor I felt leading them in prayer. I invited the 
Jewish community to come to my Yiddish concert at the Philharmonic the 
next day. Evidently, the word was transmitted throughout the community, 
for they attended in very large numbers and the concert hall was full. Many 
of them lacked the financial means to buy a ticket to any cultural event and 
they were allowed free admission. The editor of the Jewish newspaper 
(Jerusalem of Lithuania), Mr. Grigorijus Smoliakovas. had visited me in 
the morning and laboriously translated the synopsis of each of my pieces. 
I wrote them in German and he translated them into Lithuanian. The radio 
announcer read the translations and the effect of the all- Yiddish concert 
was quite powerful. My message was one of love and reconciliation and 
we all felt it together. 

Two days later I was to appear again in the Synagogue on the eve of 
Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. 
Professor Eli Schleifer, head of the music department for the Hebrew 
Union College in Jerusalem, offered to assist me. The lack of piano and a 
real stage and the fact that the other cantors scheduled to appear were 
unable to come to the festival, placed an added burden on my shoulders. 
The "gala cantorial concert" was a perfect opportunity to communicate 
this message of love and reconciliation, but the conditions were far from 

The day of the concert, it occurred to me that I would have to be as 
creative as I had ever been in order for the event to succeed fully. Staying 
in my room all afternoon, I devised a program which would hopefully 
achieve this effect. More than 50 years had passed since Jews could 
practice their religion in complete freedom and I now had the opportunity 
to bring this suffering into focus through the soul-searching music of our 
people. This music has been a great source of solace to many suffering 
generations and could not be lost. I had the awesome responsibility of 
communicating elements of a culture which had been neglected for so 
many years. It was a source of anxiety for me, but a noble challenge. 

When I arrived at the Vilna shul, there was a bustle of activity. The 
entire shul was filled to capacity, women leaning over the balcony with 
kerchiefs and conservative clothing, men with caps and grey and black 

clothes. A feeling of expectancy filled the air. Television cameras, 
microphones, radio, photographers were ubiquitous. The atmosphere had 
elements of surrealism - the drabness of ancient wooden benches and 
prayer stands against the backdrop of modern technology It was almost 
as if the cameras were recording for posterity an endangered species. Zvi 
Markevich, an elder of the Synagogue, motioned me to start. Admittedly. 
I wondered what emotions I would evoke within the people and myself, but 
my courage did not fail me. I somehow opened my mouth and spoke 

Yiddish more fluently and unrestrained than ever before in my life, with 

philosophy, humor and love formy people. The inspiration of the moment. 

knowing that this was history, impelled mc to give courage and solace to 
my people. I intoned the old folksong "Oifn Pripetshok. " They sang with 

mc. at first timidly, then stronger as their memories of long ago were 
Jogged. Each verse became a catharsis for all of us. Then I sang a prayer, 
invoking God's blessings on the community, reinforcing in my and their 
hearts, the joy of lifting off the yoke of freedom of expression. Sensing that 
they still might be holding back, I sang another folksong about a little call 

tethered, yearning to he free of its shackles (Dona Dona). This Strophic 

song, known to many Western Jews, was strange to them: however, my 
translation into Lithuanian tickled them and subdued laughter set in. I had 

taken some phrases out of my dictionary, such as "Don't worry, everything 
will be fine! The day of freedom has come and thing will get better. "They 
pot the message. 

The memorial service that I conducted with Professor Schleifer had the 
inspiration I have always sought in the Synagogue. I felt transported into 
another world, a messenger of the word of the Almighty. The entire 
experience transcended human logic: it brought into focus a hope for 
reconciliation, peace and ultimate rctletnption for the suffering of human- 
kind. The great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel alluded to the fact that 

10% Of the time our prayers seem to reach the Presence of the Almighty 
and we can feel the spark igniting- maybe it is Divine inspiration. The 

spark ignited my heart and those o f everyone around me. I no longer saw 
faces, but felt a spirit moving into people's hearts. I was told that people 
were weeping everywhere. It is a rare privilege to be an instrument for 
people to reach an emotional catharsis -I attribute it not to myself, but to 
the occasion and the moment in history. Mr. Zingeris embraced and kissed 
me, proclaiming that he had never had such a movinp experience in the 
shul I felt the same myself. 

The one hope I cherish is that one day humankind will commu- 
nicate on a deeply sensitive, personal level to soothe the hurt we have 
inflicted on each other through greed, hatred and cruelty. The end of the 

cold war and the division of Europe present a historic opportunity to start 
purifying ourselves through love, empathy and understanding. We must 
have the courage and humility to admit our shortcomings and to come 
together for the sake of healing and peace. To this, I honestly and truly say 



by Julius Blackman 

During my professional career as a full-time hazzan (18 years). 1 
occasionally wondered how I appeared to my congregation. Oh, I knew 
that I had to be in good voice, had to have full command of Nusach 
Hatefillah, be it Shabbat, Shalosh Regalim, High Holy Days, or whatever. 
Even the mastery of Nusach for weekdays, Shachnrit, Mincha and Maariv 
- is a necessity. 

Additionally, I was concerned by the challenges of knowing the 
cantillations, for Torah, Haftarah, Megillat Esther, Megillat Eicha - 
Yamim Not-aim. After all, these were the "tools of the trade" for a hazzan. 
You realty couldn't call yourself hazzan if you didn't measure up. 

Circumstances impelled me to change careers in mid-life. From being 
a full-time hazzan with all that went with it, I became an executive director 
for a Jewish communal agency-the Hebrew Free Loan Association of San 
Francisco. However, my interest in hazzanut never waned. On the 
contrary, I now was able to do what no pulpit hazzan can do - attend 
services regularly as a congregant, and daven as an ordinary worshiper, not 
just during vacation, but week in and week out. 

I went and still go to Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and 
Reconstructionist synagogues; have attended services at a House of Love 
and Prayer, Aquarian Minyan, Berkeley Hillel, services at a number of 
other college Hillels, and services conducted by gays and lesbians at a gay 
synagogue here. I have attended services at the Cantors Assembly 
Convention in Los Angeles in 1991 with both men and women cantors 
officiating; various types of hasidic services (Shlomo Carlebach comes to 
mind), services for military personnel at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and 
at Fort Ord, among others, services conducted by "lay cantors." 

These experiences have helped shape my own perception as I view our 
role as hazzanim for today. 

My observations, then, are not an abstract "we should do this, or that, 
or the other." Rather, they are a very subjective response to what I have 
seen or heard in these nearly 30 years since I Stopped functioning as a full- 
time hazzan after those 18 years on pulpits. 

First, I want to emphasize that I have been impressed with the high 

JULIUS BLACKMAN. a retired Hazzan residing in San Francisco, is one of the founders of 
the West Coast Region of the Cantors Assembly 

level of hazzanut, and the constant improvement in vocal quality, in 
knowledge of Nusach, in the overall musicality of our hazzanim. It is 
heartening and a source of real pleasure to hear and participate in these 
services. Of course, as the congregation joins in congregational melodies, 
I sometimes find myself wishing that a particular setting of a familiar text 
would be a melody more appealing to me, or more familiar, but this is a 
very subjective reaction. 

I do venture a comment on one aspect of the services. I can understand 
different melodies-for settings that arc meant to be chanted by or with the 
congregation. What I have difficulty with is that many of these melodies 
are sung in keys that are out of the vocal range of the average congregant. 
Again, as regards congregational involvement: 1 find it disconcerting, to say 
the least, to have a hazzan hold a note at the end of a phrase for an extra beat 
or two! While this allows the congregation to admire the pear-shaped tone, 
it effectively shuts down whole-hearted participation. In the same vein, 
the occasional slowing down or speeding up may get variety, but dots little 
to encourage congregational participation. After all, the whole point of 
congregational singing is to elicit participation of the congregant in prayer. 

It is a given that the average congregant has a limited vocal range, and 
usually has difficulty with more complex rhythmic patterns. I find many 
cases where congregants drop out or scratch around to sing an octave 
below the melody pattern as they try to sing along. There should he no 
problem, given the musicality of today's hazzanim, for a hazzan to 
modulate to a comfortable key when involving the congregation. 

I should add here that my own approach to congregational involvement 
in singing prayer texts has changed markedly over the years. I grew up 
listening 10 and being enthralled by such masters of the cantorial art as 
Rosenblatt. Kwartin. Hershman. the Kusevitsky brothers, Oysher, etc. 
When I too became a hazzan, I felt that the hazzanic input was what gave 
the service that very special timbre, that special flavor. I still feel that way. 
However, over the years I have come to realize that a prayer service is not 
just a performance, be it a rabbinical sermon or a cantorial recitative. 

The basic element in a service is the congregation. Prayers should be 
not just "at" or "to" the congregation, but also "with" the congregation. I 
remember vividly a conversation I had with Charles Sudock, of blessed 
memory, then President of the Cantors Assembly. This was at the Concord 
Hotel in the 1950' s. Charlie emphasized his strong feeling that he always 
should involve his congregation. Even when he would do a hazzanic 
recitative, he would involve them at the beginning in a congregational 
melody, then develop the recitative; and finally end by bringing the 

congregation in to the conclusion of the prayer. That was his style. Others 
may vary, as he agreed, but the basic need to involve the congregation 
remained a basic for him as it does for me. 

I am aware that there will be differences with this approach. And that 
is as it should be in a healthy discussion. But I must emphasize my 
strongly-felt conviction that a religious service is just that: a religious 
service. In 1953, at one of the annual assembly conventions, I was asked 
to present a paper dealing with an "evaluation of a United Synagogue- 
sponsored survey of religious services in the Conservative movement." 
This survey was conducted by Columbia University researchers. Part of 
the survey called "Setting The Tone," reviewed the attitudes of con- 
gregants to the religious services. 

I quote from my review of that report: 

The congregants demand more music. They demand more traditional music and they 
want greater variety of musical selections. We can interpret this in only one way The 
congregants want a musical service that contains the moving interpretations of the 
'Sheliach Tzibbur"the hazzan; they want a musical servie in which they may participate 
via congregational singing; and they want a musical service (ideally) that will include 
choral selections in the great tradition of synagogue music. 

The keynote speaker at that 1951 conference was our revered Max 
Wohlberg. In rereading his remarks I was fascinated at how timely even 
for today were his sage observations. 

He pointed to the "past 100 years" as being "the golden era of 
hazzanut." A little later in his talk he notes some "regrettable results of the 
period of virtuosity" that he called "theatricality and exhibitionism." with 
"a frustrating and degenerating influence on., colleagues and a disturbing 
effect on the congregations." He added "another regrettable result of the 
period of virtuosity was the weakening of the choir in the synagogue." 

In touching on the evolution of synagogue services he pointed out that 
"experience has shown that under the guidance of a competent musician 
such [congregational] singing can become a source of beauty and inspira- 
tion; minus this guidance it is bedlam and [musical] anarchy. Here again 
the cantor is needed." 

My observations had to do not only with the role of the hazzan as a 
Sheliach Tzibbur, but of how I see his/her rote within the congregation, and 
in the community. As stated, the hazzan is a Sheliach Tzibbur. But in my 
view, the hazzan is and should be much, much more. Put another way, the 
Sheliach Tzibbur shouted expand his/her role beyond just the pulpit. 

To me the very nature of the role of the hazzan is tied up with what 
should be his/her status ideally as the authority as regards Jewish music for 

the congregation and the community. This includes a knowledge of the 
evolution of the hazzan through the centuries; a knowledge of Yiddish, 
Hebrew, Ladino, folk and art songs. That is a big order; if not as yet 
attained, it's worth striving to reach. It is also good to see the Assembly 
moving to have some impact on the music of the Camps Ramah. Too often 
these camps produce hip melodies far removed from Sabbath or festival 
Nusach for their services, though the camp sing-alongs are undoubtedly 
lively and energetic. 

I recall having attended congregational sing-along programs where the 
selections were dominated by popular American folk songs and show 
tunes to the absolute exclusion of Jewish songs. Sing-alongs are a great 
idea, and hazzanim should work hard to enable their congregants to renew 
their familiarity with or discover Oif" n Pripitchok, Tumbalalaika, Am 
Yisrael Chai. Al Shlosha D 'varim, Have Yakir Li. V'chol Maaminim. 
I Unci Ma Tov Tozhinkes, etc. 

The hazzan should be involved in the rituals of our religious expres- 

I have witnessed Shabhat services where the Torah is taken out and 
handed to the Rabbi or to a congregant, while the hazzan chants the Shma. 
Ecliad and Gadlu. That dramatic raising up of the Torah always has been 
part of the function of the hazzan and should remain so. 

Similarly, with the always compelling and dramatic Hineni -with the 
hazzan chanting that moving introductory to the High Holy Day Musaf 
service. I know there are the proverbial " mixed feelings" about the hazzan 
entering from the rear of the sanctuary as this is chanted. Some contend 
this kind of theatre is in contradiction to the humility which is the pervasive 
theme of this expressive prayer. 

On the other hand, when it is done with the essential Kavanah and with 
humility, this prayer sets amovinp. stirring tone for the Musaf prayers that 
follow. As a matter of fact, and I am sure many harzanim would be 
somewhat less than enthusiastic about this - I think a dramatic expression 
of the Hineni would have: A) the Rabbi give a brief explanation of the 
history, meaning and content of the prayer; B) the hazzan chanting the first 
five or six lines; then. C) as the hazzan continues mezza voce, the Rabbi 
reads the translations, followed by D) the hazzan concluding the prayer in 
full voice and fervor leading directly to the always touching special 
Reader's Kaddish before Musaf. There is nothing wrong with including 
drama to enhance and give meaning to prayer. Witness the Levites as they 
led prayers in the days of the Temple. 

The function of the hazzan in ritual should extend also to the final 
benediction, with Rabbi and hazzan providing the final Yevarech'cha 

antiphonally in Hebrew and English. 

Similarly for Bur /But Mitzvah celebrations and confirmation exer- 
cises. The hazzan should be involved in the ritual. I have written an 
antiphonal Bruchim Ha ha mi (for confirmation) or Baruch Habah for a Bar 
Mitzvah (Bruchah Habaah for a Bat M itzvah) just before the celebrants arc 
called up or just after. A special Mi Shebeirach, after the Bar/Bat Mitzvah 
has chanted the Haftarah and appropriate blessings, also adds a special 
flavor to these rituals and involves the hazzan in the ritual of this most 
meaningful "rite of passage.' Similarly, a Mi Shebeiruch blessing of 
confirmands again would enhance that service, and bring the hazzan into 
that ritual of passage. 

It would help dramatize the hazzan' s special function if he/she would 
chant the Sh irai ayamon hal ihirah, and/or Asemt Hudibrot when 
that portion is read. Each of these is a dramatic portrayal; the congregation 
rises, there is a special focus. What better time to assure that these 
significant words receive the best performance and what better way 10 
dramatize the role of the Sheliach Tzibbur ?! 

The Shofur Service is a dramatic and significant moment in the High 
Holy Days services. Too often, in the interest of "saving time." moving 
prayers are omitted. Lamnatzeach Livnei Korach and Min Hametzr come 
to mind. And I recall being moved as the cantor intoned the Tekiah- 
Shevarim-Teruah before each blowing of the Shofar. 

Lately, I have noted more and more rabbis seem to take this over and 
with all due respect, a) chanting is the special role of the hazzan. and b) 
too often the rabbi's voice or lack of musicality fails to give proper flavor 
to this ritual. 

I would urge that hazzanim help develop Jewish Music Councils 
within theirsynagogues. These councils would be involved in planning for 
concerts of Jewish music, liturgical, folk and art songs, both on adult and 
youth levels. In turn, these music councils would involve persons 
interested in Jewish music and help create and expand an audience. They 
also can encourage involvement of Jewish professional musicians on what 
their tradition has to offer. Ideally, these councils can help encourage 
composers to write in what some might call "the Jewish tradition." though 
obviously that phrase is open 10 varied kinds of interpretation. However 
Prokofieff s "Overture on Hebrew Themes," Achron' s "HebrewMelody," 
Bloch's Baal Shem Suite - Bernstein's "Jeremiah Symphony" - Ravel's 
Kuddish- all point to positive meaningful advances in that "Jewish music 
idiom" idea. 

Hazzanim can initiate and/or participate in musical dialogues with 
members of other faiths, sharing our various music cultures (liturgical, 

folk, art) to widen the areas of mutual understanding. A program where 
groups of different religious backgrounds share their music and even 
perform together can bind communities in ways which words simply 
cannot. Moreover, Jewish participants in such programs often discover 
how much they really do love Jewish music! 

Hazzanim should attempt to develop "Scholar-in-Residence" pro- 
grams utilizing hazzanim. Such programs could develop illustrated 
lectures on music of the liturgy - Nusach Hatefillah through the Jewish 
year - folk and art songs-discussion and illustration of liturgical settings 
(this could he an ideal way to present great settings of prayers that too often 
are omitted from today's services -RozoD' Shabbosor Atah Hivdalta 
come to mind. Too often the effort to streamline services leads to 
elimination of such prayers, either in part or in total 

Hazzanic "scholars-in-residence" can help draw attention to this rich 
heritage that otherwise may fade from memory-and at the same time give 
the hazzan the opportunity to give expression to these; and at the same time 
to stir in the minds of those attending a greater awareness of the rich 
heritage that has suffused our liturgy. These scholar-in-residence week- 
ends can involve some knowledgeable retired hazzanim who could add 
much; their experience and know-how would enhance a weekend - and 
enhance the stature of the pulpit hazzan as well, and would enable the 
community to benefit from the treasure trove ofexperience and knowledge 
these hazzanim have accumulated over the years. 

I have previously indicated my growing admiration for the vocal and 
musical qualities of this generation of hazzanim. I must touch on one 
aspect, however, which I find troubling. Ironically, some of what I find 
unsettling is due to the very virtuosity of the presentations. This was 
dramatized for me at a master class session on hazzanic techniques, which 
I attended. 

The Hazzan-presenter gave a magnificent presentation of various 
coloratura techniques. He then encouraged and guided several younger 
hazzanim in presenting their own interpretations of various prayers. What 
struck me at the session was that so much of that session had been devoted 
to the various coloratura styles that there was no time to stress emphasis 
on the words. Yet to me the entire meaning of the prayer, the ebb and flow, 
the development and grandeur of a liturgical setting is bound up entirely 
in the meaning of those eloquent and fervent words. The coloratura style 
may be used to emphasize, to underscore, to give more meaning-not, in 
my view, to serve as an exercise in vocal agility, no matter how pear- 
shaped the tone, or how agile and flexible the delivery. At one time, it could 
be assumed that hazzanim possessed an intimate, lifelong understanding 

of the nuances of the prayer texts. Today, however, this may not be so true. 
with hazzanim having grown up in a far more secular culture. We must 
never lose sight of the meanings of the icfillot, which lie at the heart of what 
we stand for as hazzanim. 

As we approach the 21st century there is a real potential for a 
tremendous flowering of hazzanut, but our profession calls on us in this day 
and age to fulfill more than the single dimension of being a performing 
artist. Our roles as Shlichei Tzibbur for this generation and succeeding 
generations challenge us to much more. 

We should develop or redevelop choirs - there is an alarmingly low 
level of synagogue choirs. We need to develop Jr. hazzanim - and junior 

I recall one year when I had a 40-voice volunteer choir. For the Neilah 
service, I had that choir sit in the congregation, while my junior hazzanim 
(10 voices) assisted mc with that final service on Yom Kipur. I had a fine 
volunteer choir; but it was the clear young voices of the children that 
evoked the rhapsodic enthusiastic response from the congregants. Those 
fresh, young voices, singing the traditional responses to the Neilah 
Kaddish and Avot -joining in M' chalkel Cahayim and Piach Lain! Shaar 
and Enkat M's aide cha evoked a heart-warming response; and added more 
than just symbolic meaning to those ancient, yet appropriate, cadences that 
are a part of our liturgical heritage. 

The previous generations of hazzanim had an audience that understood 
and responded to the Rosenblatts, the Hershmans. the Kwartins. the 
Ganchoffs. Wc need to train, to cultivate, to build again for our time, a 
congregation that can appreciate and respond to the great tradition of 
hazzanut and of Jewish music in all its beauty. 

From my seat in the congregation, or at a synagogue concert, or 
Assembly concert. I have heard and reveled in some magnificent presen- 
tations. I look forward with keen anticipation to the expanding role and 
growing recognition of our hazzanim as true Shlichei Tzibbur in every 
phase of synagogue musical expression, be it liturgy, folk and art song, 
cantillation. or whatever -ken Yehi Ratzon. 


by Samuel ROSENBAUM 
May 12, 1992 
Miami, Florida 

By now you must all have had an opportunity to become familiar with 
the Souvenir Book which is being distributed at our concerts. In addition 
to the concert programs, and the fine collection of ads — for which we are 
truly grateful to the hard-working men and women of the Southern Region 
and their friends in the community -- you may have noticed a letter from 
Nathan Lam and myself welcoming our guests and inviting their full 
participation in our Convention. 

If you. like most people, skipped over that opening page, let me call 
your attention to two short paragraphs in that letter around which I would 
like to weave my report to you today. 

"We are meeting for the first time in this beautiful community as part 
of an ongoing effort to widen our national scope and service and to 
acquaint you with our founding goal of preparing a young generation of 
hazzanim to serve the ever-widening needs of the American congregation 
as shlikhey tabbur, as pastors, as counselors, as teachers, and as the 
guardians of our sacred musical heritage. 

"Our role, as we approach the 2 1 st century, is to impart to our younger 
hazzanim the rich Jewish culture of the past that has bound us together as 
a people and to equip them with the techniques that will enable then to 
transmit the essence of Yiddishkayt to their congregations." 

That is the heart of what the Cantors Assembly is all about; and that is 
what I want to talk you about, particularly to you, our younger members. 
About the duty we have to transmit the essence of Yiddishkayt to the 
congregations you will be serving well into the 2 1st century. 

Nate has already spoken enthusiastically and exuberantly of the 
progress we have made as an organization and of his hopes for the future 
for continuing and enlarging our role, our influence and our visibility; and 
it needs no commentary from me. His leadership and the cooperation he 
has elicited from the men and women in the ranks has been dynamic, 
exciting, innovative, vigorous and boldly creative. 

And we must be truly grateful for it. 

SAM ROSENBAUM is Executive Vice President of the Cantors Assembly. 

But, in the interim between the toast and the wine, should wc not give 
thought to the future? Should we not be thinking of and planning for how 
the individual hazzan will need to deal with the explosion of continuing 
change in the world in which most of OUT younger mcmbsrs will he living 
and serving? How will the issues of world politics, world ecology, world 
economy, of the growing pervasive influence of the media, the rise of 
evangelism, not only in the Bible Belt, but in the Catholic Church as well, 
and in the nco-hasidism that springs from Eastern Parkway and seeks to 
envelop the world — this world and the world to come — how will this 
affect us and our successors'? And what of the dramatic changes in our own 
lives which the new electronic coniputcradvances are sure to bring? 

That they all will impact on the coming generation is a certainty. What 
wc need to consider is how this impact will affect the altitudes of Jews, 
to their family life, to their attitudes toward the synagogue, toward prayer, 
toward the need for prayer, toward their faith and toward their sense of 

These social revolutions have already manifested themselves in our 
daily lives and it is not within our power, nor within the powcrof any single 
person or institution or nation to stop them. But that does not relieve us of 
the responsibility to try to deal with them. 

What are the techniques, about which Nate and I spoke so bravely in 
our letter of welcome? What are the techniques that we can develop, or 
what are the already existing techniques that we could enhance, with which 
we can prepare ourselves to assure the continuity of the traditions we have 
inherited and which wc hold dear? 

The officers have talked among themselves with individual members 
of our Long Range Planning Committee and with many of the members of 
the Executive Council about what we might be doing to prepare the 
membership for the challenges of the future. 

W c are not without experience in dealing with change. Since our 
founding in 1947 we have succeeded in making the transition from the 
primarily Orthodox-oriented cantoratc of the pre- World War II days to the 
Conservative cantorate. even in the face of the attempts of individuals in 
our Movement to put a damper on the emerging role and on the persona of 
the Hazzan. 

We learned the hard way to deal with the student revolution of the 60' s 
and 70' s and the resulting loss of faith and respect on the part of young 
people for tradition, for anyone over 30, for established traditions and 
institutions and for parents. 

We struggled through the thankfully short-lived rock era in synagogue 

music; and we are gradually learning to perceive and to act to control the 
long-term damage to Hazzanut and to the tone and purpose of a prayer 
service which the contemporary neo-Hasidic revival has wrought. We 
have fought and won three major legal battles in the Federal courts which 
established the now undisputed principle that a Hazzan is indeed a 
clergyman in the eyes of the agencies of our government. From these court 
victories flowed the benefits of parsonage, social security and special 
clergy status from Selective Service. 

At the same time, our programs of publications, concerts and conven- 
tions have cast a new light on the music of the Synagogue and the status 
and stature of the Hazzan. 

And while we have hardly reached the millennium, these are some of 
the challenges and successes that have brought us with renewed vigor to 
this 45th anniversary. 

But, let us always keep in mind that all of this has been accomplished 
primarily on the shoulders of our first and second generation of leaders and 
members. And now, as the third generation moves ahead to assume 
leadership in the Assembly, as it should, we must not forget neither the debt 
we owe our predecessors, nor the duty to build on and to strengthen the 
work they have done; to honor it and to uphold it. 

We are not required to be clones of the past, but we are committed to 
meet the future with the same dedication and mesirat nefesh as they did. 
Younger members will surely face different congregations and different 
challenges, and hopefully, they will have the courage and the wit to meet 
them in a manner best-suited to their needs, while keeping in mind that they 
bear the same responsibility as did their elders: to hold firm to the authentic 
Hazzanic tradition, to enhance and enlarge it and to pass it on to the 
generations that will follow. Having said all that, let me "go back to the 
future," to borrow a phrase from the movies. 

It seems to me that the greatest threats to the continuity of Hazzanut as 
a viable and potent force in Jewish life, at least for the near future, are (1) 
the recession. (2) the shortage of well-trained, confident and competent 
hazzanim and (3) the fraying of the bond of love and yearning for the 
Yiddishkayt of the 500-year European Jewish experience;for its ambience, 
for its memories, for its learning, for its faith and for its Jews who prayed 
three times a day as regularly as they ate and siept — whether they were 
talmidey hakhamim, or unlettered cimcimmldm. 

All three, economics, shortage and alienation from the past have led all 
too many congregations to do without a professional hazzan, whenever 
one of these factors could be used as an excuse. Even before the recession 

hit with full impact, many congregations were forced to make do without 
a hazzan because they could not find one to suit their needs, in spite of the 
heroic attempts of the Placement Committee to convince them that doing 
without a hazzan would do the congregation more harm in the long run. 
than having a hazzan with a modest voice but who was authentic, cared 
about Jewish life and committed to work hard in their service. 

It is my feeling that this damage to the synagogue structure is almost 
irreversible, even if and when the recession passes. When you get 
accustomed to doing without something because you cannot afford it. even 
when finances improve, the tendency is to continue to do without a hazzan 
and to spend the increased resources on somcfhinp new on the agenda. 

1 cannot guarantee that what I am going to suggest to you will solve all 
the problems that may arise, but I can guarantee that if we do not reconsider 
and rearrange our priorities, we most assuredly will fail. What I suggest 
is not revolutionary, nor new. nor in conflict with halakha or hazzanic 
tradition. My suggestions come from my own experience and from the 
cumulative experience of watching and listening to how the most success= 
ful, the most respected and the most dedicated colleagues I have known 
during the last 35 years have interpreted and practiced their calling as 
shlihey tzibbur. 

The first and most important quality which anyone who hopes to lead 
must have or develop is Presence. The ability to convey the sense that they 
know what they are about and know where they want to lead their 
followers. This is not arrogance but confidence. And confidence is what 
the hazzan must have and demonstrate by his or her demeanor to lead with 
authority. Presence is identified by the way you stand at the bimah, by the 
way you perform your job. by the way you enter a room. 

How does one acquire presence? 

Those hazzanim of whom I spoke have had that sense of Presence. You 
can tell it the moment you meet them. Some people are just born with it. 
but I think it may be acquired and I would like to suggest how you might 
go about it. 

First, by establishing your pcrsonhood as a hazzan: You must make it 
known and felt that as an able hazzan you have the right and duty to present 
yourself as a gifted, highly-trained and developed artist. If not pursued to 
excess, this is not ego but self-respect. It is we who must define our own 
role and not permit others to define it for us. This requires ability, tact and 
the fine art of being able to communicate this to the congregation without 
arousing antagonism. 

Second, you must try to make full use of your Jewish knowledge and 

background, not only in davening and cantillation, but in every sphere of 
Jewish learning in which you have some knowledge and expertise. If you 
do not have such knowledge or expertise that extends into the broad areas 
of Jewish culture, it is up to you to you to acquire it. You cannot hope to 
impress a sophisticated congregation to honor and to look up to a person 
with a limited general and Jewish background and education. 

There are a number of public forums in every Jewish community that 
will be glad to have you demonstrate your knowledge; and the 
congregation and general community will come to respect you for this. 
above and beyond the respect you earn as a shaliah tzibbur. Such a 
demonstration can go a long way to equalize the spheres of influence 
between a hazzan and a rabbi. 

Now, I am not seeking to incite a battle for power between hazzan 
and rabbi. Thankfully, that plague has faded considerably in the last years: 
but for too long many of us have hidden our extra-synagogual talents in 
fear of being perceived by the rabbi and the congregation as an attempt at 
a power play. Again, tact and the vital skills of communication are a must. 

Can it be done'? I can name you at least two dozen colleagues who 
have widened the horizons of their careers without damage to the relation- 
ship between themselves and their rabbis. Widening the hazzan' s sphere 
of activity does not require encroachment on any other staff member's 
sphere of influence or responsibility. It is adding to the pool of knowledge, 
expertise and artistry which you are making to the community. 

Third, many of us have a great interest and knowledge in other music 
than the music of the synagogue. You can widen your visibility in the 
general community by making contact with whatever musical forces and 
institutions exist in the community: the symphony orchestra, the local 
opera company, the local chorus (work on a campaign, become a member 
of a committee, or of the board.) If there is a music school or a college or 
university in your community with a music department, make contact with 
them. They all have choruses, orchestras, string quartets and voice 

All too often, hazzanim are held back from doing a major Jewish work 
of quality because of the lack of funds with which to engage the personnel. 
School forces are most happy to join you in such presentations at a 
minimum cost, if any. My own relationship with the Eastman School has 
provided me with musical forces, large and small as needed, for over thirty 
years; to the satisfaction and the pleasure of my congregation, the school 
and the community. 

A few years ago the Cantors Assembly gave a Kavod Award to the 

Eastman School for just such unusual cooperation. The President of the 
School displays it proudly in his office to this day and remained supportive 
through the years of any musical project in which we could cooperate. 

Look around. See how many musical organizations in your commu- 
nity, to say nothing of Jewish organizations, are crying out for volunteers. 
And don't be afraid of getting involved with your local Jewish Federation. 
They have events and projects which can use your talents and expertise. 
But you cannot stand back and wait to be recognized You must make the 
contact with an idea, or a plan to offer, which will serve their purposes and 

In my own community I have been a Federation campaign worker for 
20 years. I sit on the allocations committee, take cards and call on 
prospective contributors, many of them my own members. It is a good 
feeling to be on the other side of the bargaining table and helps equalize 
the balance of power between me and the layman I am soliciting. 

More and more colleges and universities offer a wide selection of 
courses in every subject imaginable to the general community in one kind 
of adult study program or another. Regular study is a mitzvah often 
neglected. It is a discipline which should be encouraged and pursued. 

It would seem to me that hazzanim might enroll in courses in music 
theory, poetry, literary analysis, since we deal constantly with prayer and 
poetry. Most of us could benefit from courses in public speaking, in 
computer skills, in education, in general psychology, pastoral psychology 
and in child development, to say nothing of Torah study. If your university 
or college has a Judaica department, get to know the chairperson, either as 
a student or as a possible part-time faculty member. Knowledgeable 
teachers of Jewish studies arc not easy to come by. especially in commu- 
nities outside of the larger metropolitan areas. 

Teaching and hazzanut are two sides of the same coin. Both seek to 
inculcate worthwhile values in the student. It would certainly not harm 
your standing in the community to teach Judaica on the college level. 
Cantors Institute graduates, in particular, have credentials which could 
win them such an appointment. 

One caution. You do not spring this news on acongrcgationcold. Your 
arrangements with any outside-of-the-synagogue institution or organiza- 
tion, whether for pay or as a volunteer, must be made carefully, in advance, 
be well-prepared and must be introduced to the officers of your congrega- 
tion with a well-thought-out proposal which shows why your acceptance 
of such a job or position would benefit everyone concerned. 

And most important, you must take greatpains to assure the congrega 

tion that such an outside obligation would not interfere with your respon- 
sibilities to your synagogue. Those must come first. 

Even if I could, I would not involve myself in such an obligation during 
the first year or two in a new position. That time should be spent proving 
yourself to your congregation, to making them feel that they chose wisely 
when they called you to serve them. 

There is one more area in which I think a hazzan could extend the 
meaning of his shlihut, his hazzanut. And that is volunteer work in Senior 
Centers, homes for the aged, hostels for terminally ill, cancer wards and the 
like. Places where men and women, too old or too sick to take care of 
themselves, are relegated to, and are all too often forgotten. 

I am indebted to Edmond Kulp and to Jack Chomsky who spoke on 
the subject of "Wider Horizons for the Hazzan," at our 35th annual 
convention, on Monday May 3rd. 1982, 10 years ago almost to the day. 

Edmond Kulp told of how rewarding and uplifting his volunteer work 
was to him. to say nothing of the support and pleasure he gave to a 
community in which more than 40% of the population was over the age of 
60; the national average at that time was 12.4% He was led to working with 
this segment of the population by earlier work he had done as part of the 
Brookdale program, while he was a student of the Cantors Institute. 

There was much to do in that setting. Regular visits to hospitals, 
nursing homes, and the like, during which he got to know the residents or 
patients, singing for them and with them, arranging Sedarim, making 
regular visits each erev Shabbes. at which time he would gather the Jewish 
residents, light the Sabbath candles with them, make Kiddush and share 
some hallah. Sounds simple when put that way. but Kulp spoke movingly 
of the many different people, at the end of their rope and neglected by their 
families, whose spirits were lifted. 

He told of instituting a program of Bar-Bat Mitzvah for the elderly. His 
first group consisted of 15 students, all over 85. Three were restricted to 
wheel chairs. 3 were women who had enjoyed long marriages, raised 
children and married them off. and after the death of a husband found 
themselves in the home. One woman was 90 years old. Most of them knew 
no Hebrew; or had forgotten what they had once known. With the aid of 
some USY students he set up a tutorial program to provide a primary 
refresher course. 

After six months they held a Bar-Bat Mitzvah service at one of the 
local synagogues in which the 13 residents participated as a group, singing 
the brakhot over the Torah, the Shema, En Keloheynu and Adon Olam. Not 
much in our eyes, but so meaningful to them. He is now directing an 

ongoing weekly music program at a new residential facility, and has 
established a Bar-Bat Mitzvah program in a day-care center for the elderly, 
as well. 

Such a program is light years away from the perfunctory. "Hello- 
Goodbye" visits most clergy make in hospitals or in houses of mourning. 
Just consider what a difference he has made in the lives of almost half of 
his community; without fanfare and without seeking praise or approval. 
He does what he does only to know in his own heart that he is. in a small 
way. giving back some of the care and attention he got as a child from his 
own prandparcnts. 

Jack Chomsky, too, spoke movingly of a similarexperience,but in a 
different setting. He points out with poignant examples, the value of the 
hazzan as a music therapist. He learned first hand from that experience that 
the music of the hazzan has a mystical quality about it; that there is 
something in haraanut which transcends the spoken word, that it enhances 
our ability to touch human emotions. 

He. too. had his first experience in this kind of volunteerism as astudent 
of the Cantors Institute. 

During the first few visits he limited himself to what he knew best, 
music. So he sang for them and led them in a few songs each time he came. 
After a bit. he decided that he needed to feel closer to them, so that they 
would be more secure in his presence. He began by making it a practice 
to shake hands with each resident every time he visited them. He found, 
in that way. that touc hing. physically, is a great form of therapy. Not being 
a trained therapist he could only guess, correctly it would seem, that 
touching a patient in a friendly manner, convinces him or her that they are. 
for the moment, normal human beings engaged in a normal social experi- 
ence. And this served to create a physical as well as a spiritual bond 
between patient and "therapist." 

He urged us all, at that explore the infinite possibilities of rnusic 
as therapy. His most moving experience was in the cancer wards of several 
hospitals. It is not easy to be friendly or sociable with cancer patients. 
Their anger and frustration make it difficult to communicate with them. 
But he. nevertheless, tried singing forcachpatient in hisorherroom. Some 
responded positively, others refused to listen. After a while, he and his 
other student colleagues managed to break down the wall of anger and the 
patients became positively involved. 

Not in all cases did they succeed, but they learned to understand and to 
accept the reasons for their failure. Yet they did not give up and continued 
to make every effort, aware of the reasons for the refusal of the patient to 

participate, but learning all the more deeply how important this therapy 
was to those who still wanted to be helped. 

He suggested that it would be worthwhile for colleagues to study 
music-therapy to help them in their pastoral duties. 

I agree wholeheartedly. And, I ask you, what, if not music therapy, was 
the power of the hazzan to elicit tears and sobs from the women's gallery 
in the old shul when he would chant a particularly emotional tefillah which 
the worshipper sensed as being personally relevant. Many of them could 
not read or understand the Hebrew, but they responded to the urgency of 
the harzan's prayer and allowed themselves the release which tears bring. 
Not knowing the literal meaning of Sh'ma Koleynu, the hazzan's chant 
nevertheless, led them, somehow, to remind them that their own lives were 
ebbing away. And so, the hazzan's voiced prayer touched their souls and 
they were comforted in the knowledge that someone was petitioning the 
Almighty in their behalf. 

Why did our grandmothers and grandfathers, as far from sin as the 
North pole is from the South pole, identify with Umpiney Hataeynu? 
Somehow, they sensed that the hazzan was begging forgiveness for them 
for some error or omission in the way they performed or did not perform 
a certain mitzvah. and so they cried, and in crying confessed, and in 
confessing were comforted. 

To sum up briefly what I have been saying, any hazzan who permits 
himself or herself to remain in a narrow valley of specialization in the days 
ahead, doing just what the contract calls for and no more, or finds himself 
or herself operating only as a functionary, a mechanic, is living in a self- 
imposed isolation. To a great extent we construct our own self-definition. 
Many of us could have a lot more leeway in how we function than we 

The only way for a hazzan of the next century to earn the respect and 
approval he or she needs to remain viable is to be prepared to meet the ever- 
changing and ever-broadening scope of the hazzan's concern and activity; 
the hazzan needs to break out of self-defined isolation and to think through 
possibilities which they may not have allowed themselves to consider. 

We cannot, in the future, restrict our conception of oursetves as singers 
of sacred songs, alone. 

The ultimate purpose of Judaism is more than prayer alone. It is much 
more than that. The ultimate purpose of Judaism is to teach humankind to 
deal with its humanity. Human mortality and the short span between birth 
and death are not easy concepts to accept. To help teach that vital 
understanding. Judaism has accumulated a sacred literature, the insights 

and wisdom of centuries; a set of mitzvot/action symbols and a mystical 
dialogue between us and God, In which we confess the distance between 
what we are and what wc want to be. 

And perhaps our most unique heritage is our unique history. Wc arc an 
historic people that lives intoxicated with a sense of history; a people that 
has been shaped by history as much as it has helped to shape history. That 
history has endowed us with a culture rich in art, philosophy, literature, 
music and folklore. Varied, multi-hued, exotic and naive, beautiful and 
ugly, complex and simple, gathered from every corner of the world, and 
the sum total of the interaction of all of these facets of our heritage is the 
Jewish People itself, of yesterday, today and for all eternity. 

These are the treasures into which we must dip if we arc to be able to 
make of Judaism a living heritage for ourselves and our congregations, 
with our talents, our minds, and our hearts. 

If wc fail to make it meaningful to the next generation, if we do not 
expand our roles to bring all of Yiddishkayt under the w ings of our concern, 
others will do it in their own way, and we will remain in the valley of our 
own default. 

I realize that for many years the Cantors Assembly has worked very 
hard to build an image of the hazzan as a spiritual leader, as a Hazzan- 
Minister. No one can deny that this stance was crucial in raising the status 
of the hazzan in the American Jewish community. What I am suggesting 
may seem at first to go counter to that stance, but that is not so. When the 
hazzan. who has been developing as a sacred artist of the Jewish people 
since the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, becomes inv olved 
in teaching or building a post-Holocaust Jewish religious, cultural and 
artistic life, that to me is true spiritual leadership. 

Furthermore, it is that which will give the hazzan the place due him and 
the influence due him in Jewish life. 

You understand. I am sures, that by the foregoing I am in no way 
denigrating our role as shaliah tzfoburand as hazzan-artist. That is first 
on our agenda, but it should not become the only item on our agenda. 

Hazzanut, as we have seen over our 45 years and beyond is an evolving 
profession, responding to thechanging needs of the time. If it is tocontinuc 
survive, hazzanut. like H alakha, must evolve if it is to he viable. 

There may be risks in doing some of the things about which I have 
spoken. There may be some who simply will not or cannot accept such 
concepts, but progress always involves change and risk. 

I am comforted, however by the advice of that distinguished American 
philosopher. Yogi Berra. who taught: "You can't steal second with one 

foot on first base." 

If the vision that I have proposed seems like an impossible dream; if the 
future seems bleak and uncertain, we need only to look back and see how 
far we have come on a vision. That vision carried us from a day in April 
1947 when 10 hazzanim reached for a vision that inspired a fragmented 
and fearfully small group of professionals to grow to become the largest, 
the most prestigious, the most effective international organization of 
hazzanim in our history. 

Now, we too, stand at the doorway to a new century and a new era. 
Having survived sacrifice and success, disappointment and victory, I have 
faith that strengthened and united, we too, will move hazzanut into a new 
era of progress and achievement. 

We cannot allow new challenges to frighten us. We are part of a people 
that has cherished a vision of a Messiah, who many secretly believe will 
never come. Yet we have continued to dream and continued to cherish that 
vision and to survive. Even after the greatest tragedy humankind has ever 

So shall we. 

HESPED 1992 

by Solomon mendelson 

This assignment, which seems to have become a hazakah of mine over 
the past several years, grows more difficult. With the passing years the 
names grow more and more familiar, more and more personally painful, 
and make me increasingly aware of the diminishing ranks upon w hose- 
shoulders and energy, we. all together, have built the largest and most 
influential cantonal organization in the world. 

What makes the task even more difficult is the extraordinarily large 
number of Colleagues we mourn today. This year they number eleven the 
largest number in one year in our 45-year history. 

Whether by pure chance or whether you see in it the hand of the 
Almighty carrying out some mystical grand plan, these eleven men — each 
in his own way unique, talented, dedicated and beloved — when you 
considerthem as a group, a havurah, are as homogeneous a cluster as one 
could imagine. 

Years ago. each one of them stood, when they were choosing their 
life' s work, at the point of which the prcat American poet, Robert Frost, 
speaks in his poem "The Road Not Taken." 

Frost tells of coming to an intersection in the path of his life where it 
converges with two major trails. One is obviously well-traveled, the leaves 
trodden down by the many steps that walked there. He did not choose that 
path, but chose rather the other one. the Icsser-travclled one. "because it 
was grassy and wanted wear." Its leaves were green and fresh and dewy 
untrodden. And he concludes: 

"I shall be telling this with a sigh 

Somewhere ages and ages hence: 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — 

I took the one less travelled by. 

And that has made all the difference." 

Martin Adolf, Gabrict Hochbcrg. Jacob Kleinberg. Morris Levinson. 
Philip Marantz, Allen Michelson. Morris Schorr. David I. Silverman. 
Joshua 0. Steele and Carl (Jrstein. zikhronam livrakhah, at some point in 
their young lives, made a choice and they. too. did not choose the well- 

HAZZAN SOLOMON MENDELSON is Past President cfThe Cantors Assembly 

traveled path that leads to law, medicine, business, science and the like. 
They chose, instead, the lesser-trodden path that led to Hazzanut and to 
eventual leadership in the American Jewish community. 

There must have been some who had also taken the less-traveled path, 
who looked upon them with alarm: "Don't go that way," they cautioned: 
"We have tried it." 

Huderekh usher aranui vu, derekh okhelel halkheha hi! The path 
which you are about to take, we have tried it, and found it to be a path 
that consumes those who walk it. It may look like it is going some- 
where, but it goes around in circles and leads only to endless disap- 
pointment and frustration, it is a lonesome, lonely road; you will not 
have much company. Take the other road. Don't become a Hazzan. 

But there were others. And they, too, had some advice. "True," they 
said, "it is a hard road. But there have been trailblazers before you, and the 
number of travellers is growing, and they need scouts and guides. In the 
long run we are confident that "Tovah haderekh ni 'od m 'od. " 

And thankfully, each of these eleven, at his own moment of decision, 
took the road that led to service to the American Jewish community. It was 
an act of faith and of optimism. Faith in a community in which there was 
great potential, and optimism in their ability to bring out that potential, in 
themselves and in their congregations. 

Choosing the road they took was for these eleven beloved colleagues 
an act of commitment which they never failed to fulfill. 

Each of them became true kley kodesh, serving their constituencies on 
the pulpit, as teachers, as counselors and comforters, as leaders in their 
community's cultural undertakings, as role models, as scholars, as dedi- 
cated members of the Cantors Assembly and all that this implies; and 
above all, they delighted in the study of Torah and in observing its 

Al eyle anu hokhim: 

M artin Adolf, a founder of the Assembly, was also a lawyer who was 
of great help to the fledgling organization with many of its practical 
problems. When he retired from Hazzanut he returned to the practice of 
law where he specialized in matters dealing with the welfare of the 

Gabriel Hochberg was a talented Hazzan and educator who suc- 
ceeded because he loved people, particularly children, and they, adults as 
well as children, responded to that love. He leaves a large generation of 
students, after 39 years of service to Temple Emanuel of Newton Centre, 
inspired and uplifted by what he taught them. 

Jacob Kleinberg began his career as altosoloist in Yosselc Rosenblatt's 
choir, directed by Meyer Posner. He grew up, determined to be a Hazzan, 
studied and was called to serve the Laurelton Jewish Center on Long 
Island. He remained there for 29 productive years. Always ready to help 
the Assembly, he served on many committees and was in charge of 
cataloguing the treasure of music we purchased from Zavcl Zilberts' 
widow. He retired to San Diego where heremained active in harzanut and 
in hazzanic affairs. 

Humble, gentle and unassuming, he was a true exemplar of a sheliah 

Morris Levinson was an unusually talented and learned Hazzan. He 
had a long career in two major eastern synagogues, was a highly-regarded 
concert singer, a Hebrew scholar and an active Zionist in the days when 
Zionism could use all the help it could muster. He served two terms as Vice 
President of the Assembly and was active in its leadership for many years. 

On the occasion of his retirement from Beth El of South Orange, New 
Jersey, the Tribute Concert program marking that event contained the 
following brief, but pithy testimony: 

"The magnificence of his voice and the sincerity of his lifelong 
devotion to Judaism have been an inspiration to our worshippers and have 
left an indelible impression upon our children." 

Philip M arantz served Congregation B'nai Zion in Chicago for more 
than two decades with great love and distinction. After 20 years of 
outstanding service, failing health forced him to retire to Florida. There 
he continued to be active in the affairs of the Region and in the work of the 
Assembly on the national scene. He was always gracious, kind, unassum- 
ing and truly devoted to his calling and to his colleagues. 

Allen M khelson was for 32 years the outstanding and beloved Hazzan 
of North Hollywood's Adat Ari El. During those years he achieved a 
national reputation as a sheliah tzibbur, educator, concert sinper and 
conductor. He set a standard of musical excellence on the pulpit and in 
music programming for synagogues across the country to follow. 

For his colleagues he was an innovator, a master-teacher of many 
hazzanim who now serve congregations all over the country. Long an 
active proponent of egalitarianism, his efforts helped to move the profes- 
sion in that direction. Most of all, he was a loving and caring human being, 
with a smile permanently etched into his face; a friend who lit up the 
meaning of that word. 

M orris Schorr was one of the most revered founders of the Assembly 
and a devoted Jewish community servant. He was the Hazzan of Temple 
Israel of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he served with great dedication for 

more than 50 years. His influence for good touched the lives of hundreds 
upon hundreds of young and old with whom he came in contact. 

He served for almost two decades as Chairman of the Placement 
Committee and was a life member of the Executive Council, an honor 
otherwise reserved for past presidents. It was his choice not to he 
nominated for the presidency, preferring to assist his colleagues directly 
in their most critical moments. He was the talented son of the renowned 
Cantor Israel Schorr. Soft-spoken, modest and concerned, he was always 
ready to serve in whatever capacity he could to help colleagues and 
congregants in moments of need or distress. 

David I. Silverman served as Hazzan for more than 50 years. The son 
of Cantor Samuel Silverman, he began singing at the age of seven in the 
choir of AryeLeybRutman. At 23. he served his first congregation and 
remained a full-time Hazzan for the rest of his life. 

He served as the test case in the suit of the IRS. which sought to prove 
that a Hazzan was not a clergyman in the legal sense of the word. He was 
a perfect subject, and with the aid of our attorney. Herbert Garten, we won 
the secondoftwo cases against the IRS. which resulted in the acquiescence 
of that body to the fact that a Hazzan was indeed a clergyman. Every 
Hazzan, of whatever movement or persuasion should he grateful to 
Hazzan Silverman, who helped to assure the continuity of the Parsonage 
Allowance and the clergy status of the Hazzanim. 

He served Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis for 23 years where, in 
addition to the obvious duties, he was responsible for the production of 
over 40 first-rate concerts of Jewish music during his tenure. He was an 
accomplished choir director and possessed an outstanding knowledge of 
Synagogue music. 

After retiring from Beth El he moved to Albuquerque. New Mexico, 
where he resumed his career and served faithfully until one month before 
his death. 

Joshua 0. Steele served Congregation B'nai Israel of Milburn. New 
Jersey for more than 25 years. Born in the Rhineland, he began singing in 
synagogue choirs at an early age. He was able to escape the Holocaust and 
fled to Israel where he was a scholarship student at the Jerusalem 
Conservatory of Music. There he studied under famed hazzanim. Y adlovkcr 
and Rosows ki. 

His beautiful tenor voice led him also to the Hebrew National Opera, 
where he sang a number of leading roles. He fought in Israel's War of 
Independence and in 1956 came to the United States to begin his service 
to B'nai Israel. In spite of his many vocal and musical talents, he 
considered his greatest achievement to be the formation of his Sabbath 

Youth Choir, a group of special young boys and girls who accompanied 
him at each Sabbath service, and who were led to love the Synagogue and 
its music because of his warm leadership. To him, hearing his Youth Choir 
sing was an ongoing token of Israel reborn, which more than repaid him 
for all the hard work he invested in it. 

Carl Urstein was a distinguished hazzan and liturgical composer who 
served Los Angeles Sinai Temple from 1947 to 1972. Upon his retirement 
he was made Hazzan Emeritus, continuing to serve the spiritual needs of 
his congregants as friend, counselor and teacher for almost two more 
decades. He lent his talents to the development of an elegant musical 
tradition at Sinai Temple and in the community at large. His liturgical 
compositions are known and sung all over the country and his students 
serve in some of our leading conprcgations. 

Exceptionally humble and unassuming, he nevertheless left his mark 
upon the lives of the thousands with whom he came in contact. His spirit 
and creativity will surely continue to serve untold numbers of synapopuc 
Jews for years to come. 

Here, very briefly, are the life stories of our 1 1 friends and colleagues. 
If we are to look for some appropriate phrase to sum up their lives w e 
might take a hint from our folk tradition of Gematria. The number I 1 is 
in Gematria. Aleph. vav, dalet, Ud. a firebrand. These I 1. these firebrands, 
served to light up the path to Yiddishkayt, which they took and on which 
they led us along with the men and women they taught and served. 

We of the Cantors Assembly are eternally in their debt, grateful that 
they chose the less-traveled road, fortunate that they helped blaze the trail 
that led us to this moment, and certain thai their light — now passed into 
our hands — will continue to bum and inspire through the many genera- 
tions still to come. 

They leave a void in the fabric of their families not easily repaired, but 
they leave us exemplary tokens of dedication to Hazzanut which will 
remain as models for those with the wisdom to learn from them. May their 
loved ones be comforted in the memories and love they have stored up 
through the altogether-too-few years they spent in their company. 

They nishmoteyhem tzrurot bitzror hahayim ut'hey memuhatam sha- 
lom. May the souls of our departed colleagues be bound up with the souls 
of the living in an eternal unity. May their repose be serene and peaceful. 

January 9, 1994 

Delivered by David f. tilman 

I have come before this holy congregation today both as the chairman 
of the Delaware Valley Region of the Cantors Assembly and as a close 
personal friend of Hazzan Yehudah Mandel, for almost twenty years. 

Let me say first that we all truly loved him, and we treasured each and 
every moment that we spent in his company. In both his professional and 
personal life, Hazzan Yehudah Mandel epitomized every value that all of 
us constantly strive to attain. We all chant the Shabbat and Holiday prayers 
according to the correct Ashkenazic Nussah, but Hazzan Mandel' s impro- 
visations ascended directly heavenward to Sha'arei Shamayim, to the gates 
of heaven. We all study voice in order to sing our prayers in a beautiful 
fashion, but Hazzan Mandel' s voice touched the souls of all who prayed 
with him. We all study Jewish texts, Bible, Rabbinic sources, liturgical 
works - in order to be knowledgeable and literate Jews. Hazzan Mandel. 
however, had it all memorized!! He would quote a pasuk, a verse from 
sacred sources for every conceivable inquiry and situation. How do you 
feel, Yehudah? - A verse from the Torah. What's new in the placement 
committee, Yehudah? - A quote from the Mishnah. How are Lilly, Zvi, and 
the grandchildren. Yehudah? - Another quote, and so on and so on! 

And then there was that speaking voice, that accent which he brought 
with him from Hungary with such pride so many years ago. If we all accept 
the undeniable fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery, then we 
Cantors flattered Yehudah wHhoutend whenever he was with us. Yehudah 
told me many times that among our colleagues who attempted to speak as 
he did, Hazzan Benjamin Maissner, of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, 
who formerly served the Germantown Jewish Center, captured that special 
lilt, the music, the poetry, the charm, of Yehudah' s speech better than any 
of us. Yehudah would say that when Benny spoke like him, he would hear 
himself and he would have to check who was in fact speaking. 

I want to share with you a wonderful story that occurred almost twenty 
years ago. Yehudah called Hazzan Harry Weinberg, of blessed memory, 
formerly Cantor of Beth T'fillah of Overbrook Park, and a past national 
officer of the Cantors Assembly. Yehudah began in his own inimitable 
style, "Good morning, Harry, this is Yehudah." Harry answered impa- 

is Beth Sholom Congregation of Elkins Park 

liently, "What do you want, Benny? I'm very busy." Eventually. Ychudah 
convinced Harry that it was truly he. 

Last spring, the Cantors Assembly honored Yehudah Mandcl at our 
annual convention here in Philadelphia, but Yehudah could not attend. 
Only a few weeks ago. Yehudah felt well enough to attend our weekly 
meeting. We were so overjoyed to see him that we rose to our feet and 
cheered and applauded. Ychudah smiled broadly and stayed with us for the 
entire mcetinp. He was so proud that we were carrying on the sacred work 
which he and his colleagues had bequeathed to us! 

After a long life and an overwhclminply successful career, beyond 
measure. Hazzan Yehudah Mandel has been called by the Almighty to his 
eternal reward. That vast treasure of information, wisdom, scichel. remi- 
niscences about the Cantors of old. about Budapest, the Rombach Temple, 
the Klomatzka Street Tetnplc of Warsaw, the Seitenstettenpasscn Temple 
Of Vienna, the music of Sulzer, and all the other great masters, the verses 
from our sacred texts - these treasures which he so willingly and eagerly 
shared with us are now scaled forever. 

We shall never again he able to "come forward" as wc answer his 
summons to daven shacharit at our conventions or be moved by his 
bravado interpretation of Hazzanic masterpieces, or benefit from his wise 
and loving counsel. Wc all miss him and we are all better people and 
hazzanim because of the time wc spent with him. May his memory be for 

January 9, 1994 

Delivered by David B. Katchen 

A few weeks ago we read the Torah Portion of Vayigash which begins: 
"Vayigash elav Yehudah vaxonier hi Adonaiy' daberna avd'cha davar 
b'oznei Adoni. And Yehudah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, 
please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ear." A decade ago. 
Hazzan Yehudah Mandel came near to me, and it became increasingly 
pleasant for me to hear his words spoken in my ear. Hazzanim from far and 
wide had known of his notable accomplishments and erudition, but the 
nearer I came to him. the more enthralled and hungry I became for his 
spoken word. Having been fortunate to grow up at my father's table, this 
exposure to his greatness became reminiscent of formative years which I 

Hazzan Mandel's warmth, understanding, insight, dignity, grandeur, 
propriety, encouragement, and so much more have been my guiding light 
since coming to Philadelphia ten years ago. Hazzan Mandel had the great 
knack of quoting the perfect pasuk at will, which always elicited greatjoy. 
It always was a joy for mc to go with him together as it is written of 
Avraham and Yitzhak: 

"Vayelchu shneihem yackdav - And they went both of them together." 
Wherever we went, for me it was at least as much fun going to and coming 
from the place, as what it was we were embarking upon. The little 
anecdotes of the Golden Age of Hazzanut. personal contacts with the 
famous Leibish Miller, and the Koussevitsky family, life in Hungary and 
Riga, his extensive travels, the private recitals featuring his glorious and 
well-disciplined voice, the interpretations, the intonations. What an expe- 
rience, what an education, what a thrill, what a "Mensch!" 

Hazzan Mandel was a fountain of knowledge, and was most apprecia- 
tive of whatever was done for him. He spoke of his rich legacy with relish, 
and spoke of his family with great love. "Vayelchu shneihem yachdav - 
And they went both of them together." Yes, he was so very proud to walk 
together, side by side, with Lilly, his Eishet Chayil. He was so proud to 
have so caring a partner, so cultured a woman, so gracious a lady, so loving 
a wife, to share his life and enjoy all that they had. He was grateful to Lilly 
for all the little things she did to help perpetuate his lifestyle. 

HAZZAN DAVID KATCHEN serves Oxford Circle Jewish Community Center in 

Hazzan Mandel spoke of Manny, who he always called Tzvi, and his 
family - Adrian. Lisa, and Dale, David and Judy, Zachary, and Gabriellc 
- how proud he was of all their achievements - how jubilant he was when 
he and Lilly went to Washington for the simchah of naming his great- 
granddaughter about a year ago. 

His elegant presence inspired and will continue to inspire all in his 
sphere. In Parashat "Ki Tavo - When you come" - we find the Verse: 

Ilashkijah mini' on kodsh'clui nun liushaniuxim uveiracli el amclui et 
yisrael Vet ha-iuhimali aslwr nakilci hum ka usher nislibcita lavoteinyu 
eretz zavat chalav udvash. "Look forth from Thy holy habitation, from 
Heaven, and bless Thy people Israel, and the land which Thou hast given 
us. as Thou didst swear unto our fathers, a land flowing with milk and 

When Hazzan Mandel came, he looked forth from his perspective, and 
served as a blessing for his people in so many places and opportunities, in 
his untiring dedication to make our lives more fulfilling and sweeter. 
" IluRav HeHaatn Ychiukih Leib hen IlaRav Avraluini, cihiv hashalom, 
serve for us all as an intercede! in Hashem's Heavenly Court. 

T'hei nishmato tz'rurah bitz'ror hachayim - May his soul be bound up 
in the bond of eternal life" and let us say Amen. 


Guidelines for Music Education 

Reviewed by Robert S. SCHERR 

In 1992, the collective efforts of talented hazzanim and educators came 
to fruition in the publication of Project Manginot published by the Union 
of American Hebrew Congregations. The publication itself is geared 
specifically to the UAHC William and Frances Schuster Curriculum 
Guidelines, but is most useful for every school program. As Cantor Samuel 
Dov Berman, Project Coordinator, proposes in the introduction: 

"Manginot.. .will expand the ability of students to grasp Jewish values, 
ideals, and history as Jewish learning comes alive..." 

Manginot really consists of two parts. Project Manginot is the 
curriculum guide. It is supported by the companion Manginot, 201 Songs 
for Jewish Schools which contains the sheet music: for all the songs. 

The auricular guidelines are divided into "Preschool." "Primary" and 
"Intermediate" grade levels. Musical activities, with specific songs, are 
suggested for particular curricular goals. In the Preschool section, for 
example, there is a unit on how growing up and changing are recognized 
in homes, synagogues, and schools. It is suggested that children can sing 
Yom Huledet Sameach and hear the cantor chant a Yevarechecha as might 
be heard in the synagogue for a birthday blessing. Reference to "It's Your 
Birthday" and "Next Year I'll Be One Year Older" from Torah Connection 
by Ida Rose Feingold (Lettercraft. 1985) and Hayom Yom Huledet from 
The New Children's Song Book. I 10 Songs for the Young by Velvel 
Pasternak (Tara Publications, 1981 ) enable the teacher/music leader to 
support the curricular goal with age-appropriatematerial. In this curricular 
section, suggestions are given to support units on Marriage. Aging, and 
Death, in most appropriate and imaginative ways. Units on Brit. Israel. 
Hebrew, Tefila, and Shabbat arc among the useful suggestions of this 
preschool path to learning through song. 

In the Primary Grades, lifecycle events include Brit Milah (sing or 
h i i i / i i i i i i Mil Maiuli Con 

cration (chanting Sh'ma, Aleph Bet. Prayer is Reaching, La-asok B'divrei 
Torah) Bar/t Mitzvah (discuss responsibility, learn to sing or listen toAni 

HAZZAN ROBERT SCHERR serves Temple Israel of Natick. Massachusetts. 

V'atah) and so forth. In the intermediate section, students are encouraged 
to investigate how Jews have prayed over the centuries by comparing 
musical settings of various prayers, hearing recordings or singing the 
melodies themselves. There's a lovely lesson plan where it is suggested 
that children enter the sanctuary and turn to the Torah service, reciting the 
prayers without music. Following the discussion of "what it felt like." 
students will learn the melodies themselves, as well as hear a variety of 
settings of the texts. 

The bibliography and discography are extensive and clear to follow. 
The Index of Core Songs is organized hy unit, and cross-referenced by age 

Some who will use Manginot will recognize, through its references to 
the Union Prayerbook or Gates of Prayer, or through the abundance of 
English language material, that it comes from the orientation of the Reform 
Movement. However, hazzanim, music teachers, and educators should in 
no way find this a limitation of the curriculum. Rather, many who arc not 
otherwise well-versed in some of this material, particularly the songs for 
young children, will benefit from the imagination of the curriculum. In 
some schools, whichmipht prefcrmore Hebrew texts or other melodies for 
tefilot. this material will nonetheless be a useful guide for using music in 
an imaginative way. 

The long list of talented editors and contributors should be acknowl- 
edged hecausc their collective imagination produced a distinctive and 
successful collaboration: 

Cantor Samuel Dov Berman. Project Manginot Coordinator 
Rabbi Daniel Frccdlandcr, Commission on Synagogue Music 
Rabbi Lawrence P. Karol. Project Manginot Revision Editor 
Cantor Stephen Richards. Project Manginot Music Editor 
Dr. Judith Tischler. Transcontinental Music Publications 
Cantor Vicki L. Axe. Project Manginot Intermediate Guidelines 
Cantor Janece Erman Cohen. Project Manginot Primary Guidelines 
Cantor Mark Elson. Project Manginot Preschool Guidelines 

Manginot clearly will guide young people to learn and appreciate 
important themes in a spirited and spiritual way. Cantor Berman' s goal is 
admirably fulfilled, to "enhance the classroom and the Jewish home with 
melodies that arouse curiosity, excite the soul, and kindle the flame of 

Project Manginot and Manginot are published by the Union of Ameri- 
can Hebrew Congregations, and are available from Transcontinental 
Music Publications. 


By Cantor Paul Kowarsky 

Reviewed by Jerome B. Kopmar 

With the apparent demise of the synagogue choir as a functional aspect 
of the synagogue service, one's first question is, why another anthology of 
choral music? Who will perform it? But after perusing this new volume by 
Paul Kowarsky. two feelings go through one's mind. First, what a shame 
there are so few synagogue choirs in North America that can utilize the 
many treasures in this wonderful collection. The second thought is that 
even if one can't utilize this volume as a practicing vehicle, it should be in 
every cantor's library as a resource volume. 

The reputation of Hazzan Kowarsky as a performer is well known, but 
his talents as a composer are to many asurprise. When looking through this 
volume the first feeling one gets is that this is the work of someone who 
knows his craft as a hazzan. Aside from possessing a wonderful gift of 
melody, Hazzan Kowarsky is able to notate his thoughts in a logical and 
meaningful mananer. One can see the years of pulpit experience on every 
page. It should be said from the outset that this volume throughout is in the 
traditional style. If one's taste in synagogue music is the contemporary 
style, this volume will not be their cup of tea, although I believe everyone 
can learn from it. 

There are so many treasures that one doesn't know where to begin. 
Perhaps the most adventurous selection, and perhaps one of the most 
difficult, is the Mimkomcha. This piece adopted from "oriental motifs" and 
brilliantly arranged by Charles Heller, is truly a gem. The infectious 
rhythms pulsating throughout the piece make it not only a toe-tapper, but 
one of wonderful musical creativity. Maintaining the Ahavah Rabah mode 
throughout, the harmonic structure, although unchanging, fits the piece 
like sunshine in summer. Because of the rhythms, this is not for your 
average amateur choir; but. if it can be done, the rewards will be multiple. 

Another piece worth special mention is the V hasienu from the Shalosh 
Regalim musaf amida. What makes this piece so special is the fact that it 
is even there. There are so few choral selections for this text that when you 
sees one. you look at it with different eyes. From the very opening, in a 

surprising major, one's interest is never dulled. From the wonderful 
interplay between the cantor and choir throughout the piece to the 
charming melodies, especially the Kadsheinu and the virtuoso cantorial 
solos, this piece keeps your attention throughout. 

One can examine many more selections for special mention, but space 
doesn't permit this. There is something for everyone. If your taste is in the 
more classical style, there is the beautifullj structured Torah service (En 
Kamocha, AvHa rachamim, Vay'hibinsoa). If you lean toward the hassidic 
style, and not ersatz hassidic. you will find immediate joy with the 
Yismechu and Al Hanissim. For sheer melodic beauty there is the Shema 
B'ni, Shim 'i Vat and the already very popular Shir Hama'alot, to mention 
but a few. Throughout the volume the hazzanic lines arc in the classic and 
florid Eastern European style. Unfortunately this may not be accessible to 
everyone's range or abilities. And yet. there are many selections suited to 
anyone's abilities. 

Again, one must bemoan the fact that because of the paucity of 
synagogue choirs, much of this repertoire will go unheard. One must also 
be regretful that there aren't more who can write like Paul Kowarsky. This 
volume should be a cherished possession for anyone who has a love for 
traditional synagogue music. 



Liturgical Selections in Classical Style 

for Voice and Keyboard 

Jerome B. Kopmar 

Reviewed by Abraham lubin 

Hazzanim today are constantly challenged to preserve the traditions 
and forms of the classical Hazzanut literature, and at the same time to 
speak to worshippers of the 90' s who have not been steeped and attuned 
to the rich liturgical and musical nuances of the classic East European 

S h i r a t Libi by Hazzan Jerome Kopmar, beautifully published by Tara 
Publications, is an attempt to bridge the gap of classical Hazzanut to the 
contemporary worshipper. In lieu of the free improvisational technique. 
Kopmar set the pieces in Shirat Libi, in strict meter and tempo, to lovely 
lyrical melodies which immediately capture the musical taste buds of the 
average listener and worshipper. With the exception of the declamatory 
opening measures in the Sh'ma Yisrael of the Musaf Kedisha and an 
occasional ad libitum marking, all the pieces are set to clean, tuneful and 
uncluttered melodies. 

Six of the seven pieces, namely: Sh'ma Yisrael. L'dor Vador R'tse 
Vimnuchatenu, M'chalkel Chciyim, Kohanecha and Sim Shalom will flow 
quite readily in the context of any contemporary service. An additional 
seventh piece. Hine Mu Tov is arranged to include, as an option, the use 
of flute and harp in the accompaniment. 

The piano accompaniment to the pieces makes this collection a useful 
and wonderful addition to be rendered on the Bimah as well as on the 
concert stage. 

One final word. These are not sing-along melodies to be sung in 
summer camp - guitar- accompanied style. They are set to be sung and 
interpreted by a professional Hazzan in a formal and dignified setting, 
within the synagogue or on stage. 

Beth El in Bethesda. Maryland. Hei 


Reuven Frankel, Baritone 
Gerald Rizzer, Piano 

Reviewed by Stephen Freedman 

For too many Jews, the performance of even the simplest rituals is an 
enigma, so that it becomes easier to ignore or discard them, rather than 
having to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable with one's lack of knowl- 

That reality was one of the driving forces which impelled Reuven 
Frankel, cantor turned rabbi, to develop the tape "Family Shabbat and 
Festival Medley." It focuses mainly on the "seder shel Shabbat" for Friday 
night and Shabbat day, while including a number of original Shabbat and 
holiday songs we well. 

The ritual at the Friday eve table is presented in music, from candle- 
lighting through Birkat Hamazon. While not comprehensive - only the 
opening paragraph of Birkat is heard, and only brief excerpts from the 
zemirot are presented - the tape conveys a wonderful sense of Shabbat 
menuchah, a feeling of serenity and peacefulness. The Shabbat day 
Kiddush, followed by additional zemirot is included as well, though oddly, 
Havdalah is not. 

The melodies which Frankel has selected tend toward those with 
which the greatest number of people would be familiar. And yet, he has 
included some lovely, albeit lesser-known settings as well, such as 
Janowsky's "Eishet Chayil," in Hebrew and English, Davidson's 
"V'shamru," and a hauntingly beautiful melody for the zemirah "B'nei 

The question, though, is "Ma Nishtana?" What makes this tape 
different than the dozens of other shabbat recordings on the market today'? 
As noted earlier, it is in no way unabridged textually. In addition, there is 
no orchestral accompaniment, no "commercial" arrangements, no daz- 
zling technical effects, nor does it feature "star" performer. 

The beauty of this recording lies in its simplicity. Originally conceived 
as a teaching aid, this tape offers enough, but not so much so as to be 
overwhelming. All of the pieces are set in comfortable keys for the average 

HAZZAN STEPHEN FREEDMAN serves Congregation Beth Israel, Worcester. 


Rabbi Reuven Frankel is blessed with a wonderfully rich baritone 
voice. His pianist, Gerard Rizzer, composed most of the accompaniments; 
they are at once tasteful and engaging. They are more than background to 
the vocal line, having an integrity all their own, yet they are never 

The second side of the tape is devoted to Frankel' s original composi- 
tions, in Hebrew and English, on shabbat and holiday themes. His "Chag 
Sameach" and "Sing Hut-ray, Sing Hurray" are delightful participatory 
songs for children. "Modeh Ani" and "I Love Shabbat" are geared toward 
younger children. "Welcome, Shabbat Angels," which uses the music of 
Israel Goldfarb, is a lovely mood-setter for the Shabbat table. The two 
Haggadah pieces, though, are less effective. 

Technical purists, take note: The background hiss on side one (origi- 
nally recorded in 1977) might be bothersome, but the sheer elegance of 
Rabbi Frankel' s presentation far outweighs that small consideration. The 
second side, recorded in 1992, displays a more sophisticated level of 
technical quality. 

In short, Reuven Frankel merits our gratitude for sharing his dual 
talents vocal and creative, through the vehicle of his marvelous tape. As 
a teaching tool, it is invaluable; as artistry, it is wholly satisfying. 

"Family Shabbat and Festival Medley." with accompanying song 
booklet, is available through Tara Public 



Three diverse recordings offer a rich and varied menu of musical 
selections. While only one contains strictlj cantorial selections, the other 
two provide many treasures that can be enjoyed or used in performance, 

In the latter category is I My Beloved's - Music for the Modern Jewish 
Wedding - chanted by Cantor Edward Fogel. of Congregation Shaare 
Emeth of St. Louis, Mo. 

The recording contains some 25 selections, the majority of texts being 
from Shir Has hi rim. (The Song of Songs) - Some of the familiar texts have 
two or more musical settings, offering the listener an interesting choice of 
styles and arrangements. 

Cantor Fogel possesses a beautiful, lyric tenor voice, and his musician- 
ship is expressed by allowing the meaning of each song to emerge in a 
fluid, natural style. 

The selections include popular settings including: "Rise Up. My Love" 
by Gershon Kingsley. Ana Dodi by Charles Davidson. "Entreat Me Not 
To Leave Thee" by Max Janowski. Ana Dodi and Sh 'neyhem by Michael 
Isaacson and Al Tifg'i L'azveych by Lawrence Avery. There arc lovely 
arrangements of Israeli ""standards." such as Erev Shel Shoshanim, Dodi Li 
and El Ginat Ego:. 

Another composer whose work is featured is Ben Steinberg, repre- 
sented here by two selections. The first, V'evrastich Li, is sung in both 
Hebrew and English, and features a beautiful choral background as well. 
The second is an extended setting of the S /leva B'rachot, sweetly chanted 
by Cantor Fogel. 

There are some unusual inclusions as well, such as two Ladino love 
songs, a father's hymn of love to his daughter. (Biti by Michael Isaacson) 
and a musical setting for Shalom Aleichem (also by Isaacson). I'm not 
ccrrain how these latter two fit the theme of the recording, but they are 
welcome additions to our storehouse of Jewish music. 

Finally, additional praise must be given for the marvelous accompani- 
ment piven to Cantor Fogel, as well as the elaborate and extensive liner 
notes included with the recording. They include text references, transla- 

SHIMON GEWIRTZ is Hazzan of Temple Toral Yisrael, Cranston. R.I. 

tions and even a list of places and publishers where the music might be 
obtained! Quite unusual and most thoughtful. 

Cantor Avi Albrecht of Shelter Rock Jewish Center, Roslyn, L. I. has 
a new recording called LIVE FROM ISRAEL . . . CANTORIAL CON- 
CERT, containing six selections in - more or less - traditional hazzanic 
style. Two of the numbers, Mimkomcha and Ata Hu, are original compo- 
sitions, and are performed with both charm and passion. They both contain 
a folk-like quality, as well, which helps draw the listener in. As for 
standards like V liy 'rushalayim Ircha by Abe Ellstein and Av Harachamim 
by Pinchik, Cantor Albrecht' s cultured lyric baritone flows through them 
easily. The minor reservations that I have are more of a technical nature . . . 
such as the minimal liner notes the selections - including who accompanies 
what number and where and when this "live" recording was done. (The 
liner note states that it was recorded and mixed at Eshel studios, in Israel). 
Some clarification would have helped. Otherwise, a hearty yasherkochecha. 

Last, there is an exciting recording by Cantor Mayer Davis of Congre- 
gation Kehilath Jeshurun of New York that manages to combine folk, pop, 
and hazzanic elements into a unique flavor rarely displayed in current 
Jewish records. Cantor Davis was ace-founder (along with Mati Lazar) of 
Tayku, an experimental folk/rock/jazz ensemble that pioneered the expres- 
sion of Hebrew and Israeli music in a new direction. He has been a guest 
soloist with both Zamir Chorales, and possesses a dynamic tenor voice, 
brimming with personality. Because he has not limited his choice of songs 
or arrangements to one style, area of music, or type of accompaniment, 
Cantor Davis is able to infuse his selections with a great deal of spice and 
taam. He is backed by the wonderful Neshomah Orchestra. 

Beginning with a Hasidic-style resetting of the Shehech'yanu blessing, 
Cantor Davis next presents a poignant ballad of hope and longing - written 
by David Burger - called "My Chiefest Joy," which is as contemporary as 
today's headlines. His original Od Yishama could move one to dance, and 
his rendition of "Papa, Can You Hear Me'" (from "Yentl") instills that 
classic with new insight and emotional texture. Other personal favorites 
include an original Avinu Malkeinu and folk-oriented D'ror Yikra, in 
which the singing style becomes simpler and more direct. The liner notes 
are elaborate and well-planned, and another bonus is the printing of all the 
lyrics. Indeed, an impressive first record by a talented and dynamic cantor, 
Mayer Davis. 







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The winners of a Hallel song contest 

By Robert S. Scherr 

In the fall of 1991, under the auspices of my synagogue's Fine Arts 
Fund, we created a contest to stimulate interest in creating new melodies 
for congregational song in the Hallel service. The concept of the contest 
was that by advertising through the Cantors Assembly, American Confer- 
ence of Cantors, Guild of Temple Musicians, and others, interested 
musicians would submit offerings. Perhaps stimulated by the small 
monetary prize offered, and probably more significantly by the creative 
muse which motivates most composers, many entries were received. A 
committee of three hazzanim (Charles Osborne, Robbie Solomon, and 
myself), and Dr. Lee Rothfarb, from the Music Department of Harvard 
University, evaluated the entries and awarded prizes. The following 
compositions were premiered for Temple Israel of Natick on the First day 
of Pesach in 1 99 1 . They have become a beloved part of the repertoire of 
our Hallel. 

The compositions appear here with the permission of their composers, 
Emil Berkovits, Shimon Gewirtz, and Yossi Zucker. 

HAZZAN ROBERT SCHERR serves at Temple Israel of Natick, Massachus< 


L BERK0V1TS is Hazzan of Beth El Synagogue 


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CHARLES HELLER is Director of Music at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue. Toroi 

Note from the composer 

This piece has been sung for many years at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda. 
Toronto. If affords an opportunity to give the cantor a rest at the end of 
Musaf and also to feature a boy chorister. The relatively long phrases 
require some training for a boy to sing them properly, and this gives the 
boys a goal to work for. It is a matter of great pride when a boy sings this 
solo for the first time; his photo and biography are printed in the shul 
bulletin. In this way, participation in the choir provides musical, educa- 
tional and social rewards. 

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